Microalgae for the Replacement of Antibiotics in Livestock Production
Feyecon Development & Implementation BV is pleased to announce a collaboration with Hogeschool Inholland, Veenweiden Innovatie centrum and farmers to explore whether extracted microalgae biomass can be used as a replacement for antibiotics in livestock production. The project received funding from European Union & European Regional Development Fund – EFRO and the Provence of North Holland within the ‘Kansen voor West 2’ initiative.
The immune stimulating effect in microalgae is associated with polysaccharides which predominantly reside within the cell walls of the microalgae. This complex carbohydrate can constitute up to 11% of the dry microalgae biomass.
Microalgae biomass is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids and it can contain up to 50% of the dry biomass. European Food Safety Authorities recommend that every person should consume between 250-500 mg/day of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. Most of the consumed omega-3 fatty acids come from fish-oil, which have several disadvantages: 1) it is not sustainable; 2) heavy metal contamination; and 3) contamination with 3-MCPDs and glycidyl esters. Moreover, fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids because fish eats microalgae which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Supercritical CO2 technology can be used for omega-3 essential fatty acid extraction. The advantage of this technology is that neither the extract nor the residual biomass contain residual solvents. The extracts can be safely consumed by the consumers and the residual biomass can be further utilised without any concerned.
At the Inholland University of Applied Sciences (Agri, Food & Life Sciences) – in a collaboration with Veenweiden Innovatiecentrum and farmers – they tested the effect of fortified feed with microalgae on 22 calves (age 2-8 weeks). The protocol of a non-invasive tool for the measurement of welfare and health conditions of calves has been developed. 10 calves were fed with feed fortified with microalgae and 12 were fed by conventional feed (control group). Parameters such as temperature, chest size, body weight, heart rate and breathing were analyzed during the feeding period. The calves who were fed by algae never got sick. In general the temperature, heart rate and breathing have been more stable for the group fed by microalgae and also the average weight-gain for the calves fed with microalgae has been 9.3% higher than control group after 30 days feeding.