12 July 2021- A few decades ago, Italian yeast specialists Prosol realized that developing and promoting a high quality live yeast strain would be a strategic investment for the long term.
Over the years, Prosol’s choice to cultivate its yeast knowledge has enabled them to build a portfolio not only including live yeast, but also hydrolysed yeast additives and even ribonucleic acid/nucleotide ingredients as a source of nutrients for animal feed.
Now, as parts of the industry turn away from solutions such as therapeutic zinc oxide or ingredients such as blood plasma or fishmeal, yeast products are in a position to provide alternatives. In today’s conversation with Feedinfo, Daniele Bonvicini, Managing Director at Prosol, unpacks the mode of action of the company’s yeasts and yeast derivatives, the recent research done around their efficacy, and the company’s future plans for expansion.
[Feedinfo] The yeast category overall is a fairly crowded one. How does Prosol or its products attempt to stand out from the competition?
[Daniele Bonvicini] Prosol’s unique selling point consists of our mastery of selection and processing technology to get the best from yeast.
Technological innovation and continuous research make a big difference to help us maintain a competitive position in the market and to differentiate us from our competitors.
Finally, Prosol’s organization is flexible and accustomed to changing and moving quickly. Decision trees are short and our attitude is customer-oriented: customized solutions, highly flexible packaging options, and ready-to-use supplements development.
[Feedinfo] In what species is BIOSPRINT used, and what effects can producers expect to see following its application?
[Daniele Bonvicini] BIOSPRINT® is a live yeast strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae registered in EU and in many other countries (18, to be precise) for different animal species. The BIOSPRINT® strain is deposited at the Belgian Coordinated Collection of Microorganisms under the number MUCL™39885. Depending on the details of registration in each individual country, BIOSPRINT® can be used in the various different subcategories of ruminants, pigs, and horses.
In ruminants, BIOSPRINT® increases feed digestibility and stabilises rumen pH, improving feed conversion ratio both for milk and meat productions.
In gestating sows, BIOSPRINT® improves farrowing condition and gut health. Sows’ gut health at farrowing is able to positively influence piglet gut microbiota. This brings a higher survival rate of piglets during the suckling period, which results in higher piglet and litter weights at weaning. Furthermore, it increases sow feed intake during gestation, also resulting in higher weight at weaning. Sow weight at weaning is highly correlated to fertility at the following oestrus.
In horses, BIOSPRINT® improves feed digestibility and helps animals to recover after training sessions and after sanitary problems or periods of stress.
New studies for BIOSPRINT® use in other species and categories have already started and will be soon available.
[Feedinfo] Prosol is particularly proud of BIOSPRINT’s “immediate” activity. Why is this important in terms of performance in the animal? And what evidence do you have to support your claims on the speed of its activity?
[Daniele Bonvicini] We have performed internal and external analyses to evaluate the recovery ability of different live yeasts when reaching the rumen fluid. BIOSPRINT® is very fast to reactivate when compared to other live yeasts. Reactivation speed is important to avoid live yeast washing out through the reticulum, and thus to remain active in the rumen. Reactivation speed is also important in energy-rich diets to avoid early lactic acid accumulation in the rumen. In a test conducted in an independent research centre in Finland, BIOSPRINT® showed the best ability to reactivate, stabilise rumen pH, and decrease lactic acid production compared to other live yeasts at the recommended dosage.
[Feedinfo] Prosol also offers I-CARE, a hydrolyzed yeast. Can you explain the different modes of action of this product? Which markets is it aimed at?
[Daniele Bonvicini] I-CARE is a hydrolysed yeast obtained from a proprietary strain of Kluyveromyces fragilis. Hydrolysis is a process that releases the contents of the yeast cytoplasm and breaks down proteins: nutrients are thus more available to be absorbed by the intestinal epithelium.
I-CARE is high in digestible proteins with a well-balanced amino acid profile. It is rich in glutamate, which is an important source of energy for the intestinal epithelium. Furthermore, glutamate increases piglet feed intake by enhancing the umami taste. Also, nucleic acids and nucleotides are released during hydrolysis. These components are the building blocks of fast-growing cells such as the gut epithelium and immune system.
Meanwhile, hydrolysis preserves yeast cell walls: I-CARE thus contains beta-glucans and mannans. Beta-glucans are known to modulate the immune system, while mannans modulate intestinal microflora. In a recent trial performed at the Department of Animal Science of the Faculty of Agriculture at Kamphaeng Sean, Kasetsart University (Thailand), it was demonstrated that I-CARE in broilers is able to significantly increase antibodies production and anti-inflammatory cytokines. At the same time, I-Care stimulates lactobacilli and bacteria from Lachnospiraceae family, which produce butyric acid and are associated with a better FCR in broilers. These modes of action explain why I-CARE is able to improve performance and resistance to diseases in poultry production.
In another farm trial performed in 2020 together with INIA in Spain, I-CARE was tested to replace zinc oxide in piglets after weaning. Results showed that piglets treated with I-CARE had the same performance as piglets fed with zinc oxide at pharmacological dosage. At higher doses, I-CARE was also able to decrease antibiotic treatments when compared to the control.
Summing up, I-CARE is mainly addressed to young animals: chicken, piglets and calves. It improves performance and sanitary status. I-CARE can also be used in demedicalisation programs and to replace animal protein sources in the feed.
[Feedinfo] Prosol has increasingly been making significant investments into its research and innovation efforts. Can you give us any data to illustrate this?
[Daniele Bonvicini] Prosol has always invested in different studies and field trials with Italian and European universities and research institutes. In 2014 more projects were planned to challenge BIOSPRINT® in different species and environments and to meet to the new requirements of the market to replace animal origin ingredients and pharmaceuticals in farm management.
Our R&D investments have been growing slowly but constantly in the last five years, which is demonstrated in our success in patenting new innovations; we have received five patents over that time period, and have the same number under examination.
Finally, for the next year we have already planned to invest more than 5% of our turnover.
[Feedinfo] What kinds of research is Prosol involved in, and what are the key questions it is focused on?
[Daniele Bonvicini] We are now investigating the mode of action of our new products: our aim is to better explain why our yeast and yeast derivatives improve performance and health status. At the same time, Prosol is increasingly focused on sustainability. Our research is aimed at bringing new scientific knowledge to improve animal health and performance which translates into benefits for our planet and for human health.
We work in cooperation with institutes in many continents: we are designing experimental trials with excellent institutes for each different subject. Some of the countries where we have performed trials or have planned to carry them out in the near future include Italy (of course), Spain, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Thailand, China, Finland, and even Iceland.
[Feedinfo] Tell me about your new implantation in China. When do you expect this new entity will begin operations? What are your objectives in China in the first few years after it opens?
[Daniele Bonvicini] PROSOL-China-Shanghai is based on a strong partnership with our local partner, designed to be close to the market. A local technical team and a logistic platform will support customers in the different regions of the country in tight coordination with Prosol’s Italian headquarters.
We expect to announce the official beginning of activities in July 2021. We aim to introduce our registered products in China in the second half of this year, and in three years we hope to be earning 8% of our current turnover in China.
The challenges are much greater than in any other region in the world and Prosol is not the only one seeking to make an impact on the Chinese market, but as mentioned, we are confident in the potential of our own specific products and specialties.
[Feedinfo] Is it fair to say that Prosol is also involved in a push into Asia more broadly? Where else is Prosol focusing its resources as part of its international expansion efforts?
[Daniele Bonvicini] Yes, Prosol is mainly interested in other Asian markets, which, together with China, represent our main focus for the coming years. Prosol has appointed partners in Thailand and the Southeast Asia region, in South Korea, in Bangladesh, and also in Turkey and North Africa. In 2020 and in the first half of this year our sales team connected with and supported more than 300 technical sales and veterinary professionals with technical and training sessions even in the middle of the difficult situations caused by the pandemic and its economic consequences.
At the beginning of this year, we also established a commercial entity in the UK in order to ensure continuity for our current business there upon Brexit.
[Feedinfo] What’s next for Prosol? What do you anticipate will be the most exciting developments, either in terms of commercial expansion, new product launches, or other company developments, in the next few years?
[Daniele Bonvicini] The plans discussed above are already enough to keep us busy for around the next five years.
Beyond that, a couple of years ago Prosol launched a line of supplements for pets for the domestic market, known as the petMOD® line. The line is prescribed by vets and available in pharmacies. It consists of specifically designed solutions for the most common health issues of companion animals. The next target is to approach the international markets: we are already in Hong Kong and Turkey and launches in other geographies are going to start in the next future.
Published in association with PROSOL SPA