[INTERVIEW] Biotronic Top Line Expands Choice Beyond Single vs. Blended Acidifiers

BIOMIN, however, has decided that these useful substances can be coaxed into an additive greater than the sum of its parts. The company claims that its Biotronic® Top Line is far more than a blend of selected organic acids; instead, by bringing in a phytochemical and a permeabilizing substance, BIOMIN has boosted the impacts of these acids beyond the effectiveness of conventional acidifiers.

And the customers seem to have noticed. Biomin’s new Global Product Line Manager for Acidifiers, Dr. Attila Kovács reports that they have seen a 44% increase in sales of acidifiers compared to the same period last year and that the product’s growth rate is outstripping the growth of the category, as he sat down to try and explain how an additive designed to save space in feed was coming to occupy a big space in the market.

[Feedinfo News Service] You have described Biotronic® Top Line as a “category-busting” additive line. What do you mean by this?

Dr. Attila Kovács, Global Product Line Manager - Acidifiers BIOMIN

[Dr. Attila Kovács] Organic acid-based products have been well accepted in animal feed formulations for decades. A number of factors, including the drive for efficiency, reduction of production costs, replacement of AGPs and the need for pathogen control, has created market demand for a tool that can do more than simply decrease pH. Two main barriers restricted acidifiers from delivering their full potential. First, the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria hinders the antimicrobial properties of organic acids. Second, refusal to think ‘outside of the box’ relegated product innovation to the choice of single or blended conventional acids.

The Biotronic® Top line breaks down those barriers by introducing a phytochemical and a unique Permeabilizing Complex. These innovations result in a more powerful, enhanced acidifier that, at a given dosage, has more strength than conventional acidifiers and is able to counteract Gram-negative bacteria, thanks to the Permeabilizing Complex, for better pathogen control.

[Feedinfo News Service] What does the BIOMIN Permeablilizing Complex do? How is it unique in organic acid delivery systems?

[Dr. Attila Kovács] The BIOMIN Permeabilizing Complex breaks up the membrane of Gram-negative bacteria, opening the door for the passage of un-dissociated organic acids and other antimicrobial substances. While the idea itself seems straightforward, developing an enhanced acidifier that performs in the field must meet several requirements. First, it clearly has to be stabile under acidic environments, and not all permeabilizing substances are. Second, it must be suitable for use in animal feed. Third, the active ingredients must be effective when used in combination. In the case of Biotronic® Top line, the different components demonstrate a unique synergism in their mode of action.

Thorough R&D brought the Biotronic® Top line, including the BIOMIN Permeabilizing Complex, to fruition through in-house testing and with support of external research facilities like the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

[Feedinfo News Service] How big of a priority is it to minimize the space in diets occupied by organic acids? And how is it that a farmer using Biotronic® Top line products will gain space in livestock feed compared to a diet that included the selected organic acids added separately?

[Dr. Attila Kovács] Particularly in young animals the inclusion of organic acids is widespread, in no small part due to several recognized benefits. Because Biotronic® Top line products are more powerful than conventional acidifiers, space is freed up in livestock diets. The trials we have conducted so far show that we can replace up to 5 kg of a single organic acid or 3 kg of a conventional acidifier product by using the Biotronic® Top line products with a simple inclusion of 1 kg/ton. This creates opportunities to further enhance feed formulation or add more economical raw materials at no additional cost. Feed prices are becoming more and more a sensitive topic for farmers and consequently also for the feed mill. Being able to reduce feed cost and achieve equal-to-better results on the farm means a win-win situation. The gained space in feed formulation can also be used to include mycotoxin deactivators or phytogenic feed additives (PFAs), supplying additional support for animals to reach their genetic potential.

[Feedinfo News Service] BIOMIN® claims that sales for the Biotronic® Top Line are growing significantly faster than projections for the conventional acidifiers market. How do you account for such growth?

[Dr. Attila Kovács] A good sales team, good product and a highly qualified research department provide the foundation. The real key lies in offering customer oriented solutions and genuine results. That means aligning product recommendations with customers’ goals and making it work in their situation on their sites. At Biomin we reach clients in over 100 countries worldwide through direct relationships and valued distributor networks.

We offer tailor-made solutions depending on the client context. Some farmers may not realize that especially with liquid organic acid based products it is easy to use more than actually needed, without an added benefit for the animal. That represents excess cost for the farmer. To help farmers save money, we customize the dosage recommendation of our Biotronic® Top line liquid products at the customer’s location, taking into consideration the quality parameters of the water at farm level, thereby ensuring the exact dosage needed to achieve optimal results.

[Feedinfo News Service] BIOMIN® saw a 44% increase in sales of acidifiers worldwide over the last year. Where did that increase of sales come from?

[Dr. Attila Kovács] The growth registered last year came mainly coming from Europe, Middle East and Asia. Interestingly in Asia, where organic acid based products have become the norm in modern production, there’s been a gradual, long-term shift away from antibiotic growth promoters in favor of innovative, natural options.

Calf nutrition has become an important area for growth. Milk has been shown to be an even better environment for fostering bacterial growth than the ‘broth’ used in labs and designed for that purpose. So hygiene can be improved. Simple acidification by conventional acidifiers causes the milk to coagulate, rendering it unusable. In some markets, milk/colostrum is pasteurized before being given to calves, though this process destroys valuable immunoglobulins in the colostrum, making the milk less beneficial to the calf. Several trials with Biotronic® Top Line products demonstrate its ability to 1) improve milk hygiene, 2) preserve the quality of the milk and 3) help support calf performance.

In the swine sector, the replacement of single acids and simple acid blend products by Biotronic® Top Line products was the driver of the growth. Feed manufacturers especially like this new approach and farmers are able to receive a higher quality feed for the same price as a result. We often suggest that producers begin with a partial replacement of the current acid components and work their way to 100% replacement, at which point they can achieve the full benefits of an enhanced acidifier. We’ve also seen greater uptake in the aquaculture and poultry sectors.

[Feedinfo News Service] What are some of the big steps ahead for the BIOMIN® Biotronic® Top Line?

[Dr. Attila Kovács] The biggest focus now is to find the best solutions to improve the gut health of the animals giving them the possibility to achieve their potential. That involves identifying the optimal combination of phytogenic, probiotic and acid based products to deliver the best combination for different problems faced on a farm, including AGP replacement, Gram-negative bacteria challenges and other gut health issues.

We constantly try to develop new products and new solutions covering the needs of our existing and potential customers. The research department focuses a lot in finding new application ways, and new concepts that will make reaching the best benefit on the farm level possible. We are conducting work on some new products that are going to further extend the Biotronic® Top Line. This is still under development and I will come back with updates for another discussion at a later date.

This interview was first published on www.feedinfo.com.