3 February 2021 - Scientific studies indicate that organic acid feed additives can help mitigate viral contamination in feed.
A study by Trudeau et al. in 2016 found that certain organic acid products can effectively reduce the survivability of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) and reduce the risk of disease spread. Among the products studied was the nutritional feed acidifier ACTIVATE® DA, manufactured by Novus International, Inc.
The 2016 study inspired Novus researchers to see if the same was true with the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus.
Late last year, Novus conducted a trial at the Laboratory of Veterinary Biotechnology at the National University of Agriculture in Vietnam to evaluate the efficacy of ACTIVATE® DA against ASF in feed and to determine what amount of the product would be needed to reduce the survival rate of the virus in contaminated feed.
We spoke with Ermin Magtagnob, Technical Services Manager-Philippines & Vietnam at Novus, to discuss market conditions in Southeast Asia, and find a bit more about the role ACTIVATE® DA can play to mitigate ASF, which continues to spread throughout the region.
[Feedinfo] Mr. Magtagnob, how concerned are your customers in Southeast Asia about the spread of ASF?
[Ermin Magtagnob] The spread of ASF is a top priority for swine farmers and stakeholders in Southeast Asia. Its devastating effect on pig populations requires a biosecurity programme to control the spread and recurrence of the virus. Currently, customers who are haven’t experienced ASF have made major adjustments in their farm biosecurity programme while affected customers have been hesitant to repopulate. Several on-farm procedures have been implemented that were not practiced prior to ASF, like disinfecting everything that enters the farm facility and prohibiting visitors near the farm. Recently, news was released that Vietnam has produced an effective vaccine against ASF, but the production and availability of that vaccine is still coming. For now, customers are eagerly awaiting a globally available vaccine and are actively seeking ways to reduce the risk of their pigs contracting the virus.
[Feedinfo] What findings from Novus’ past research on the effects of ACTIVATE® DA on pig gut health and its potential to offset viruses like porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) would you say are applicable to what you are seeing with ASF?
[Ermin Magtagnob] It was documented in China in 2008 that ACTIVATE® DA had antibacterial effect on E. coli that was introduced orally to challenge weaning pigs. Studies have also shown the product to help reduce PEDv in feed. When we considered how the combination of HMTBa, fumaric and benzoic acids in ACTIVATE® DA was very effective against other pathogens, it made sense that it would also have an impact on ASFv.
[Feedinfo] Using organic acids can reduce the risk of ASF transmission through feed contamination. But to what extent exactly?
[Ermin Magtagnob] The objective of our most recent study was to evaluate the effectiveness of ACTIVATE® DA to mitigate ASF virus in feed in a week’s time. We know a batch of feed that was mixed and delivered to a farm can be consumed in a matter of days, so we considered this time period in our study. We also took into account two doses of ACTIVATE® DA: 2 kg and 5 kg per ton inclusion. Interestingly, just after 24 hours, we observe at least 2 logs reduction in ASFv in the feed with ACTIVATE® DA compared to the control group. Also, the higher the inclusion, the higher the reduction in ASFv survivability. At 5 kg inclusion of ACTIVATE® DA, we observe 3 logs reduction after day three, which corresponds to 99.9% of the virus depleted. This was the first time we conducted this kind of study in our region. The study corresponds to our customers’ interest in the topic and the results.
[Feedinfo] Your trials were carried out in Vietnam where ASF is still spreading. How aware is the local market about this issue of survivability of the virus in feed? Are pig farms – who are seeking to upgrade their farm management and biosecurity protocols, while also dealing with COVID-19 - also financially able to invest in organic acids?
[Ermin Magtagnob] The local market is aware of the survivability of viruses in feed and feed ingredients through numerous seminars and articles about the topic. When ASF hit China in 2018, Novus in Southeast Asia began conducting seminars and roundtable discussions with customers from farms and feed mills on the importance of feed hygiene as part of holistic approach to biosecurity. We saw a favourable response to our approach regarding feed biosecurity. However, not all pig farms and feed mills are willing/able to use chemical mitigants in feed because of cost and they don’t believe there is a direct return on investment. But, whenever an area is newly reported positive case for ASF, we receive a considerable number of inquiries about our products and strategies to strengthen biosecurity. Even with the announcement about the ASF vaccine, ACTIVATE® DA can still help minimise the risk of feed contamination from other sources.
[Feedinfo] Did you see an increase in demand for ACTIVATE® DA in Southeast Asia in 2019-2020 when ASF reached these markets?
[Ermin Magtagnob] In Southeast Asia we saw an increase in demand for ACTIVATE® DA in mid-2020. But our team in China saw increased sales in 2019. In that instance, I think it wasn’t only that ACTIVATE® DA was being used to mitigate ASF in feed but also for its effectiveness as a nutritional acidifier. ACTIVATE® DA includes HMTBa and that methionine value can help alleviate the negative effect of stress, especially on livestock cultivated in the tropical countries of Southeast Asia. Also, since China banned antibiotics in animal feed, the product has been used to effectively boost overall gut health.
[Feedinfo] Today, where is ACTIVATE® DA for Southeast Asia customers shipped from? Do you intend to increase supply to these markets?
[Ermin Magtagnob] Currently, ACTIVATE® DA for our Southeast Asia customers comes from our manufacturing facilities in the U.S. But we are performing the registration process that will allow us to ship from our facilities in China. This direction will be helpful in bringing the product closer to our customers in a shorter period of time and help with fluctuations in demand.
[Feedinfo] For Southeast Asia, how do you intend to further communicate the ASF prevention message in 2021?
[Ermin Magtagnob] Biosecurity should be part of the culture of a pig operation with or without an available ASF vaccine. There are other pig viruses that are spreading in Southeast Asia and beyond that can also survive in feed. I think enforcing feed hygiene and feed biosecurity programmes can prevent the entry of diseases, either viral or bacterial. Novus’s focus moving forward is on gut health and biosecurity. It fits well into that priority. We are dedicated to working with our customers in developing a culture of biosecurity in their workforce.
Published in association with Novus International, Inc.