Global animal nutrition company Alltech has launched its first Europe-based in vitro fermentation laboratory, Alltech IFM, in collaboration with Harper Adams University in the U.K.
Alltech IFM is a nutritional tool that simulates rumen fermentation and evaluates the digestibility of feed and forages within the animal, the company said in its announcement.
For farmers and feed manufacturers, use of the in vitro tool can identify barriers to achieving optimal rumen function, Alltech said, explaining that it enables rations to be formulated based on nutrient availability, helping to reduce energy losses and feed wastage.
Feed samples, which can include concentrates, fresh forages, silages or total mixed rations, are incubated using rumen fluid for 48 hours and are then analyzed for volatile fatty acids (VFAs) and microbial biomass, Alltech said. The system measures gas production throughout the process, meaning the amount of energy lost as methane and methane emissions per animal can be calculated. Validated by the Carbon Trust, Alltech IFM is used for predicting farm- and feed-specific enteric methane emissions, the company added.
Based at Harper Adams University in the U.K., this laboratory represents Alltech’s seventh IFM facility globally.
“The introduction of our Alltech IFM lab in Europe marks a significant step forward for us as we now have the ability to analyze European-based diets and ensure our customers benefit from further technical support,” Alltech vice president Matthew Smith said.
The collaboration further strengthens Alltech’s research alliance with Harper Adams University.
“Having the Alltech IFM lab at Harper Adams allows us to undertake more fundamental studies in terms of ruminant nutrition and ruminant metabolism so that we can optimize rumen fermentation and, therefore, improve animal health, performance and longevity,” Harper Adams professor Liam Sinclair said.
“The goal of looking at rumen fermentation with Alltech IFM is to minimize the waste product or minimize the gas production and to maximize VFAs and microbial biomass, which are critical nutrients to the cow,” added Dr. Jim Huntington of Harper Adams University.
“Together with the team at Harper Adams, we look forward to generating new insights and highlighting how certain diets correlate with high-producing dairy and beef systems across Europe,” Smith said.