SOUND SCIENCE: Animal Wellness Products Work at the Microbial Level

Published on Mon, 09/21/2015 - 3:19pm

By Maura Keller

As a microbiologist, David Parfitt, founder and president of Micron Bio-Systems, was onto to something. When he founded his ever-growing company in the United Kingdom in 1993, Parfitt believed that many issues faced by modern farms could be addressed from the very basic microbial level. And he was correct.
An international leader in biotechnology, Micron Bio-Systems utilizes their scientific expertise in microbiology, biochemistry, immunology, and enzymology to develop product-based solutions for the animal husbandry, companion pet, and environmental markets. Micron Bio-Systems, Inc., was incorporated in the U.S. in 1996 and now provides products and services around the world.
Since its inception, Micron has been growing exponentially and gaining attention from the farming industry worldwide. The company’s goal has always been to provide the market with product-based solutions and species-specific programs that improve animal health and performance.
Today, Micron’s innovations are based upon three core pillars — each of which represents a separate supporting program of technology-based products, which are then applied across the appropriate animal sector.
The company’s philosophy is to better understand the biological systems both in and around animals and how they impact their health and well-being. As such, Micron’s three core pillars — feed preservation, mycotoxin remediation, and nutraceuticals — support the company’s core goal of supplying product-based solutions to address challenges in animal health and husbandry.

As Robert Rhoades, vice president and general manager at Micron explains, the three pillars represent the support

Technology Prowess
Few words captivate the biotechnology sector more than the word ‘change.’ Anyone with even a casual understanding of the biotechnology marketplace recognizes that change is constantly afoot. And since its inception in 1993, Micron has been a leader in embracing technological advancements in animal health and husbandry. From investing in exceptionally qualified staff to embedding state-of-the-art equipment within their facilities, Micron has proven its focus on making its in-house technical capabilities preeminent.
The company’s commitment to expanding and improving its R&D program has resulted in a range of technical services and product trailing — resulting in the best programs, services and product-based solutions for the agricultural market.
While technology has enhanced Micron’s business, it has also greatly impacted the farmers they serve. For example, Micron’s test farm, established in 2013, is proven ground for product assessment, while the company’s multi-site fermentation plan is ideal for pilot scale studies surrounding the care of farmed animals.

technology that is applied across each animal group to address the influences from the external environment, such as molds, toxins, pathogens, stress — and how they influence the animal’s internal status and wellbeing.
“The key impact we make is how we work with our distributing partners to help them tailor the products and programs to fit the specific needs in their markets,” Rhoades says. “This may involve customized products built around Micron’s Core Technology, to new product development based on the issues of the day. We are always listening to our partners to provide what they need to service their farmer customers.”
As Rhoades explains, Micron works hard for farmers to help identify the issues and provide targeted solutions. Improving animal efficiency, performance and overall health status, helps the animal and the farmer.
“Our products are designed to address specific needs,” Rhoades says. “We believe, however, if you don’t need it, don’t feed it. Desired results should be seen in a reasonable period of time related to the product being used. If results are not seen, then we need to be looking at a different approach to the situation.”
Micron understands that price volatility within the dairy market has resulted in the need for efficient production practices that lead to excellent health and improved performance in dairy cows. That’s why the company has put a great deal of effort in creating programs addressing forage and feed preservation, mycotoxin remediation and microbial-based supplementation to help farmers overcome production-limiting issues that many production facilities face.
Within the dairy arena, Micron’s forage and feed preservation segment allows farmers to achieve more milk from silage while maintaining better silage stability. In addition to helping ensure forage is properly preserved, the forage and feed preservation products help maintain the highest possible feed value, while controlling spoilage yeasts and molds that can result in poor quality and waste.
To protect cow health and production efficiency, dairy producers can implement Micron’s mycotoxin remediation program. Specifically, UltraSorb-R is designed for use in cattle feeding systems to counteract the effects of a wide range of mycotoxins that are typically found in ruminant feedstuffs. Micron uses a unique combination of technologies to effectively bind, transform and degrade the principal toxins.
The probiotic feed supplements are designed to improve cow health, stress response and performance. Specifically, these supplements can improve the intestinal microbial balance by stimulating the normal bacterial flora or providing a replacement population of desired bacteria.
In response to the increasing use of yeast supplementation within dairy rations, Micron has developed UltraCell, a unique yeast strain that can significantly stimulate the growth of populations of rumen bacteria responsible for fiber digestion and lactate utilization. In fact, research has shown that certain strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the yeast of which UltraCell is comprised, can improve rumen fermentation, thereby increasing animal production. The result? Improved milk production.
In addition to dairy, Micron’s product-based solutions are also used within the swine, beef, and avian industries.

Contributing Success Factors
According to Rhoades, Micron offers significantly sound science, which is applied where it is needed and in a way that is always in the best interest of the farm.
“Our products and technologies have been developed by us and belong to us,” Rhoades says. “The organisms we use are ours. We go to great lengths to make sure the highest quality standards are followed and maintained in every aspect of our business. We support our partners and the farmer in the best way we know how. We develop relationships.”
It’s the company’s active research and development department, which is overseen by Micron UK, that creates and evaluates new products and product enhancements in the laboratory and in real-world farm applications.

What the Future Holds
The future for Micron Bio-Systems is bright, as they continue to grow on a global scale and keep abreast of industry changes that will affect animal health and performance. As the industry moves away from the use of antibiotics in feed, Rhoades says nutraceuticals will be the replacement to help animals maintain the internal microbial balance required to ensure performance and health.
“Addressing potential issues related to feed preservation and mold and mycotoxin control will be big things to watch for,” Rhoades says. “We continue to listen to the market and expand our core scientific competencies to meet the demands and challenges of our customers. We are currently launching new species-specific formulations for mycotoxin control as well as a strain of yeast unique to Micron for use in animal feed.”