Chr. Hansen and the Dairy Industry - A 143-year relationship and counting!

Published on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 11:12am

Chr. Hansen and the Dairy Industry - A 143-year relationship and counting!

By Chr. Hansen

Chr. Hansen has been improving food and health for more than 140 years, and to this day we produce ingredients consumed daily by more than 1 billion people worldwide. With an ever-expanding range of probiotics, we work continuously to develop the products of tomorrow, enabling farmers to produce the high quality, sustainable, and safe food that global consumers demand. We have the world’s largest bank of bacterial strains, and from this strong foundation, we continue to innovate and produce the best bacterial solutions for poultry, swine, cattle and silage.  All this is accomplished from our strong platforms in bioscience technologies combined with extensive research and in close dialogue with our customers and business partners.  
This is why we call our approach Science-based, Research-proven.

From the beginning
Chr. Hansen A/S was founded in 1874 by the Danish pharmacist Christian Ditlev Ammentorp Hansen, who was the first to extract rennet from the stomachs of calves to improve the production of cheese. Chr. Hansen operations expanded into the US in 1879.  Since then, Chr. Hansen has continued to revolutionize and set the standards for the manufacture of microbial products. We believe that microbial challenges require microbial solutions. With that in mind, we are the owner of one of the world’s largest commercial collections of bacteria, with more than 28,000 strains.

The backbone to our business
With over one hundred-years of experience using live microbes in food and feed, our strong foundation ensures that the approach to all our innovations is based on leading science that helps us not just to innovate new solutions, but to study and understand the mechanisms of how our probiotics work through our science-based approach.
Our team of over 200 employees in Innovation is the backbone to our business, bringing a wide range of experience and expertise from a broad background, including veterinarians, microbiologists, agronomists and experts within the fields of genome sequencing and screening – to name but a few.

A strong scientific community
Chr. Hansen has developed a strong collaboration with business partners, research institutions, leading academia, ensuring we stay at the forefront of scientific developments.
But it is undoubtedly our closeness to our customers that ensures that our developments stay relevant, providing solutions that meet customers’ needs – helping us to understand local and market challenges, regulation and developments – and enabling us to take our science-based innovations from idea generation to producing quality products.

By truly understanding how our solutions work, as well as the needs of our individual customers, we can ensure we bring the right solutions to the right customers.

Probiotics – Every dairy animal, everyday!
The digestive tracts of all animals, and people, too, for that matter, are populated with hundreds of billions to hundreds of trillions of bacteria.  This population of microorganisms is referred to in common parlance as “gut flora” or by research scientists as “gut microbiota.”  These organisms are essential to the health, well-being, and normal functionality of the animals that they populate.
From time to time, there can be a disruption in the harmonious balance of different species of bacteria within the gut microbiota.  This is typically the result of such things as an abrupt dietary change, use of high doses of antibiotics, or the ingestion of pathogenic organisms.  We are all aware of the physical symptoms of an “upset” bowel.  In production animal agriculture, digestive upsets and intestinal disease challenges will likely result in economic losses.
One tool available to dairymen to address, and possibly even prevent, these periodic disruptions and challenges are daily-fed probiotics.  

What are probiotics?
Probiotics are currently defined as “live micro-organisms, which when consumed in adequate amounts, confer a health effect on the host.” 1,2   The work group of experts from the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization, who defined probiotics, also identified the set of characteristics of a bacterial strain that must be in place in order for that strain to be considered as a probiotic.1,2 First, the strain must reach its proposed site of action, usually the digestive tract or gut, and therefore survive the physiological stresses and conditions met following its ingestion: e.g., stomach acid/rumen fluid, intestinal pH, and the presence of bile salts and digestive enzymes. Secondly, it must maintain its physiological characteristics and remain stable during the manufacturing and delivery processes. Lastly, it must prove to be beneficial with an absence of risk for the host.  
Effective probiotic organisms engage in many active processes to stabilize the gastrointestinal tract and digestive function, which improves energy capture and nutrient utilization from feedstuffs and overall health.  The key word here is “effective”.  Not all direct-fed microbials products have earned the right to be called “probiotics”.
Chr. Hansen’s demonstrably-effective, science-based, research-proven probiotics help keep dairy cattle healthy and high-performing. Our market-leading Bovamine® brand probiotics for dairy cattle have been shown in university and field research trials to improve gastrointestinal development, stability and function, to promote greater feed efficiency in calves and pre-bred heifers, and to improve the efficiency of energy-corrected milk production in lactating cows.  In addition, long-time users of Bovamine brand products see reduced incidences of adverse health events in their herds, particularly among transition cows (those in the first 63 days-in-milk).  This is likely due to the improved availability of nutrients, coupled with the reduced pathogen load and improved immune responsiveness, that these animals have when consuming an effective daily-fed probiotic.

So, you ask “what does this mean to me?”
If you’re reading this article, then you likely have some interest in understanding the nature of those companies that serve your industry and, perhaps, something about their products.  Like you, Chr. Hansen invests effort and resources in supporting sustainable, safe food production.  We would encourage everyone to make choices based on a sound understanding of what differentiates one company from the next and what makes any product better than another.  We believe in the solutions that we provide and, through their use, we’d like you to become believers, too.   

 1. Report of a joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation. Health and nutritional properties of probiotics in food including powder milk with live lactic acid bacteria. Cordoba, Argentina, October 2001
 2. Report of a joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation.  Guidelines for the evaluation of probiotics in food. London, Canada, April 2002.