By Maartje De Vos (Swine Product Developer) and Kobe Lannoo (Global Category Manager)
For several years, the global swine industry has been challenged by several viral pathogens with devastating economic impact. For example, Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED)—belonging to the Coronaviridae family—was first reported in the UK in 1970 and in several countries across the globe since. In 2011 there were increased outbreaks with very high mortality and morbidity, mainly in young piglets. Then, in the mid-1980s, Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), part of the Arteriviridae family, was first recognized in the USA and rapidly spread worldwide. Most recently the swine industry is jeopardized by African Swine Fever (ASF), a DNA virus in the Asfarviridae family. With a complex epidemiology, the swine industry is slowly recovering from this severe prazootic (the production in China is projected to reach the same levels in 2023 as in 2019 – FOA). As such, ASF remains one of the biggest threats to pork production. Since the discovery of one sick animal is the start of massive culling, preventing the virus from entering the farm is one key aspect of protecting a herd.
Importance of feed and feed ingredients in viral transmission
Since the outbreak of PED in North-America in 2013, contaminated feed ingredients and animal feed were assumed to be a potential vehicle in viral entrance and transmission between farms and between countries. In a study of Dee et al. (2018) it was demonstrated that several viral pathogens (amongst which PRRS, PED and ASF) can survive in various feed ingredients and in animal feed. Moreover, Stoian et al. (2019) showed that plant-based feed materials promote ASF virus stability and survival. As feed delivery is a recurrent event and there is a high risk of viral mitigation via the feed, conclusion can be made that a considerable amount of pig farms can be infected via this route. Furthermore, Niederwerder et al. (2019) demonstrated that ASF can be transmitted orally via contaminated feed and cause infection.
FeedLock®: closing the biosecurity gap
As there is an important need for improved global biosecurity via the feed, we recently developed FeedLock®. FeedLock®. is a patented mixture of medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) with proven effect on viral transmission via the feed. Independent research facilities in the US and Vietnam have proven the effects as well in vitro as with in vivo bio assay. FeedLock® is able to neutralize viruses in infected feed and this way safeguard the animal from being infected through this pathway. In that respect, a study was performed at the National Institute of Veterinary Research in Vietnam to test the efficacy of FeedLock® towards ASF. The MCFA containing product was added to complete feed spiked with ASF-virus. After 24h virus incubation, DNA was extracted and real-time PCR was performed. All tested concentrations showed a statistical increase in Cycle quantification (Cq) value compared to the positive control (P<0.05). Results, expressed as delta Cq value, can be found in the graph below.
The current hypothesized mode of action of the direct anti-viral effect of MCFA is creating viral instability by making pores into the viral envelope. Thomar et al. (1987) previously demonstrated this phenomenon by electro-microscopy. This anti-viral effect of MCFA was proven in a study performed at the University of Ghent in which it was confirmed that MCFA avoid invasion of Porcine Alveolar Macrophages by PRRS (own data, 2015).
Our knowledge = Your benefit
Administering FeedLock® in the diets will not only provide a higher biosecurity on farm. For decades it is known that MCFA mixtures beneficially influence on performances of as well sows, piglets as finisher pigs. Being patent holder and market leader, Agrimprove specialists are known as the global expert in blending specific Free Fatty Acid combinations for specific challenges. FeedLock® is in this respect no exception. A recent study at K-state, showed that increased ADG, and ADFI and decreased FCR were observed with increasing the FeedLock® levels (up to 1.5%) in the diets (Gebhardt et al. 2020) (see tables below)
Safe, sustainable, high return on investment
Increasing the biosecurity standards on farm is all that can be done to prevent viruses from entering. Feed biosecurity is part of this biosecurity chain. Adding additives that are carcinogenic, bind proteins and can lead in the long term to stomach ulceration might not be the preferred solution. With FeedLock®, a mixture of natural components, it is possible to combine the best of both worlds: safeguard animal feed from spreading virus and improve your animal performance at the same time. That is what we call farming ideas.
FeedLock, Close the biosecurity gap
Emerging viral diseases are nowadays considered as the biggest threat on animal husbandry. PED, PRRS, Foot and Mouth disease, Classical Swine Fever and lately mainly African Swine Fever are only a few of the pandemics that have hit our pig stables in the last decades.