Researchers believe a novel feed treatment could replace the need for antibiotics in poultry units and ultimately help the livestock sector in the fight against superbugs.
Scientists at Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) have announced promising results in a study of a “novel technology” carried out in partnership with Aga Nanotech and the Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIEL).
The study found the additive offered a “safe, effective and sustainable” replacement for antibiotic use in poultry rearing.
Dr Salvatore Galgano told a meeting of the World Poultry Science Association the technology could also enhance production.
“It is an important step in the fight against superbug infections in animals and lays the foundations for further investigation into the role of this new technology in decreasing antibiotic resistance associated with animal husbandry,” he said.
Adrian Fellows, the chief executive of Aga Nanotech, added: “We are excited by the early results which show real promise for the development of a new generation of feed additives with a remarkable range of benefits.
“There is still work to do and in part this will be conducted in co-operation with our project partners in China.
“However the research has demonstrated a potential route to the safe, nutritionally beneficial and environmentally responsible replacement of antibiotics in chicken rearing and possibly other monogastric animals.”
CIEL’s lead project manager, Bikki Dalby said the innovative approach offered clear veterinary and human health benefits.
“Further gains include improved food security, food integrity and supply chain resistance.
“Over and above the potential it offers the poultry sector in China, this alternative technology could be extended to other livestock species and rolled out worldwide.”
The study is part of a wider project involving UK company GAMA Healthcare, SRUC, CIEL and Shanghai Veterinary Research Institute to trial innovative patented technology for the poultry industry.