13TSB_N4L2FS: Development of silage inoculants to improve mineral composition of animal products

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bristol
Department Name: Clinical Veterinary Science

Abstract

Consumers have an increasing fascination with the food they eat with a subsequent increase in demand for healthier, more nutritional functional food. This project will develop novel animal products which will increase the supply of bioavailable nutrients to the consumer reducing the reliance on dietary supplements. Se is essential for humans as a constituent of more than two dozen seleno-proteins which play critical roles in reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA synthesis and protection from oxidative damage. Inadequate intakes of bioavailable Se are common in people living in Se-deficient regions, vegetarians and vegans. Se deficiency is also seen in patients' under-going kidney dialysis, people living with HIV and the elderly due to removal of Se through dialysis, increased loss through diarrhoea and malabsorption. Se is available in multimineral supplements as inorganic sodium selenate or sodium selenite. However, the human body absorbs only 50 % of Se as either selenate or selenite compared to over 90 % of Se in the form of organic selenomethionine and selenocysteine (IFMNB, 2000). Good sources of organic Se in the human diet are from animal products such as dairy and ruminant meat. However variability in composition is large due to the nature of the Se status of the soil during grazing and also the low levels of minerals contained typically in ensiled forage. A 2005 report estimated that typical UK silage contained less than 21 % of the Se requirement for optimum livestock nutrition (FWL, 2005). It is therefore common to supplement ruminants with minerals in the form of inorganic Se. As with humans the bioavailability of the inorganic form is significantly less than organic Se requiring a higher dose. In addition the conversion of inorganic Se into milk and muscle seleno-protein is inefficient resulting in lower levels in animal products for human consumption. Therefore the ability to use a silage inoculant which incorporates Se as an organic form will naturally increase the supply of available Se to animals and enrich products with a highly bioavailable form of the nutrient. As such the project will develop a novel method of nutrient delivery by enhancing organic Se in animal products. It will also develop a novel healthier food which will allow greater absorption of organic Se without the need for dietary supplementation through inorganic mineral tablets. In addition an increase in Se in animal products through greater antioxidant capacity will improve product shelf life and reduce waste.

Technical Summary

Consumers have an increasing fascination with the food they eat with a subsequent increase in demand for healthier, more nutritional functional food. This project will develop novel animal products which will increase the supply of bioavailable nutrients to the consumer reducing the reliance on dietary supplements. Se is essential for humans as a constituent of more than two dozen seleno-proteins which play critical roles in reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA synthesis and protection from oxidative damage. Se is available in multimineral supplements as inorganic sodium selenate or sodium selenite. However, the human body absorbs only 50 % of Se as either selenate or selenite compared to over 90 % of Se in the form of organic selenomethionine and selenocysteine (IFMNB, 2000). Good sources of organic Se in the human diet are from animal products such as dairy and ruminant meat. However variability in composition is large due to the nature of the Se status of the soil during grazing and also the low levels of minerals contained typically in ensiled forage. It is therefore common to supplement ruminants with minerals in the form of inorganic Se. As with humans the bioavailability of the inorganic form is significantly less than organic Se requiring a higher dose. In addition the conversion of inorganic Se into milk and muscle seleno-protein is inefficient resulting in lower levels in animal products for human consumption. Therefore the ability to use a silage inoculant which incorporates Se as an organic form will naturally increase the supply of available Se to animals and enrich products with a highly bioavailable form of the nutrient. As such the project will develop a novel method of nutrient delivery by enhancing organic Se in animal products. It will also develop a novel healthier food which will allow greater absorption of organic Se without the need for dietary supplementation through inorganic mineral tablets.

Planned Impact

As the project will develop a new silage inoculant with the IP sitting with the lead organisation and licensed to Kelvin Cave Ltd. for UK distribution, this project will have real economic benefits to the industry consortium members in a relatively short time scale. The ability to develop further international licensing opportunities will have further economic benefit for consortium members and other licensees. Economic benefits will be seen by both farmers and retailers as animals produced will be of higher value warranting a higher market price and retailers will benefit through the expected extended shelf life that the higher level of Se antioxidant would provide. This is also an example of the environmental benefits as the technology could significantly reduce waste through the products' extended shelf life. In addition the technology could reduce the practice of Se fertiliser application to fields with subsequent nutrient leaching and loss into water courses and environmental pollution. As such there could be further saving to farmers in reducing the reliance on mineral licks and supplements to provide in-organic Se. The project also has obvious societal benefits with the development of a novel functional food increasing the bioavailability of an essential mineral to reduce reliance on dietary supplements. There will also be benefits in terms of animal health as Se deficiency in animals is associated with many production conditions such as retained placenta, mastitis and white muscle disease. The University of Bristol have access to mechanisms to help investigate and measure the health benefits over the longer term. Such as the Biomedical Research Unit in Diet, Nutrition and Lifestyle and the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute for Health Research which provides access to researcher in the fields of Neuroscience, Cancer, Cardiovascular Medicine, and Bristol Health Partners which brings together the health providers in the city to deliver evidence based patient benefit.

The data provided from the project will also provide robust information to feed back into policy makers and regulators, highlighting the current situation with regards to Se uptake and deposition into animal products. It will provide a greater biological understanding of the effect of organic Se on animal health and depositions to help develop further intervention strategies for the farming industry to address other mineral availability issues associated with developing functional foods beyond the scope of this project.

Economic Impacts
New product development in terms of both novel silage inoculants and Se enriched animal products.
Improved human and animal health and reduced Vet and NHS fees.
Enhanced sales of functional animal products to supply organic bioavailable minerals.
Reduced loss of products and extended shelf life
Higher returns for the farmer through a higher value carcass
Lower costs of production through greater efficiency and lower reliance on mineral supplements

Social Impacts
Increased consumer confidence in UK produced livestock products.
Improved confidence in the food that is supplied to the most at risk groups to supply the minerals that they require.
Reduced reliance on mineral supplements and the pill-popping culture.
Greater confidence and brand development opportunities of UK produced products.
Healthier consumers and animals

Environmental Impacts
Reduction in food wastage facilitated by an extended shelf life associated with improved Se anti-oxidant content.
Reduced environmental pollution from the use of Se fertilisers in Se deficient regions.
Improved efficiency of Se use by animals resulting in lower levels of Se in animal waste.
Greater health of animals and therefore efficiency of production which will improve Carbon efficiency and lower greenhouse gas emissions

Publications

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Description • Lactic acid bacteria convert sodium selenite into organic selenocysteine and elemental Nano-selenium
• Lactic acid bacteria were selected on their ability to grow in a sodium selenite medium and to convert selenite to organic and Nano-Se
• The ability of lactic acid bacteria to act as silage inoculants was not compromised by the addition of sodium selenite
• Lactic acid bacteria inoculants can convert sodium selenite in silo to supplement livestock with organic and predominately Nano-Se

Selenium (Se) is a non-metallic trace element essential for normal cellular function, which has been linked with reduced risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline and thyroid disease in humans. Se deficiency in livestock is associated with white muscle disease, retained placenta, ill-thrift and mastitis. Where Se status or bioavailability from the soil for plants is poor, livestock rely on supplemental Se in their diets predominantly as either sodium selenite (inorganic form) or selenised-yeast (organic form). As lactic acid bacteria (LAB) have been shown to incorporate Se as either organic or elemental (Nano-Se) there may be potential to use silage inoculant bacteria to improve the Se status of feed to provide the Se requirements of livestock. We screened twenty-seven LAB in MRS broth in the presence of sodium selenite for growth and uptake of Se as organic (selenocysteine and selenomethionine), inorganic (selenite and selenate) or/and Nano-Se, with the aim to identify potential candidates for a mini-silo study. Sodium selenite addition into the growth medium of LAB reduced growth rates but also resulted in the conversion of the inorganic sodium selenite into predominately Nano-Se and small quantities of organic-Se. Based on a rank analysis of growth and ability to take up (total Se content) and convert inorganic Se (Nano and organic Se content), three LAB were selected for further investigation as silage inoculants: L. brevis DSMZ (A), L. plantarum LF1 (B), and L. plantarum SSL MC15 (C). Each LAB was used as an inoculant within a grass mini-silo trial, either cultured in the presence of sodium selenite before inoculation or sodium selenite added to the inoculum at inoculation versus controls with no Se. The addition of sodium selenite either into the growth media of LAB or applied at inoculation of grass silage did not interfere with the ability of the LAB to act as a silage inoculant with no difference in silage fermentation characteristic between LAB with no Se added. The addition of sodium selenite either to the LAB growth medium or at inoculation resulted in the conversion of sodium selenite into Nano-Se and organic-Se (Nano-Se, ca. 103 higher than organic), as previously shown in the screening trial. There was no difference between the three LAB for incorporation of Se or in silage quality, indicating the potential to develop silage inoculants to increase the bioavailable form of Se (elemental and organic) to livestock through conversion of inorganic forms during ensiling.
Exploitation Route Development of a novel product
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink

 
Description A trade mark has been licenced for the technology and a new product will be marketed
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Trade marking Selage Product
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact The product produced in the project has been Trade Marked for marketing purposes by the Industry partner - it was felt patenting would not be successful and so the Trade Name Selage has been protected which will be used to sell the improved technique and developed innoculant
 
Description Direct Industry Support
Amount £20,000 (GBP)
Organisation Silage Soutions Ltd 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2015 
End 04/2016
 
Description Direct Industry Support
Amount € 380,000 (EUR)
Organisation Alltech 
Sector Private
Country Global
Start 01/2016 
End 12/2020
 
Description Farming Futures Bristol / Rothamsted Alliance "Quantifying the true cost of farming systems"
Amount £80,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Bristol 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2019 
End 09/2023
 
Description Industry Direct Support
Amount £20,000 (GBP)
Organisation Kelvin Cave 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2015 
End 04/2016
 
Title The use of HPLC-HG-AFS for detection of Se species in silage and Lactic acid bacteria 
Description Development of the use of HPLC-HG-AFS to speciate a range of Se species in silage and lactic acid bacteria pellets 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact An improved capability to determine Se speciation in animal feed 
 
Description A strategic alliance with a research partner 
Organisation Alltech
Country Global 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution A strategic alliance has been set up with AllTech to deliver research around mycotoxins and silage health. AllTech will fund two PhD studentships to run alongside the current project.
Collaborator Contribution AllTech have provided funding to support two PhD studentships to run alongside the project
Impact A PHD student started with us in January 2016 to investigate a link between soil and plant health, silage quality, aerobic stability, mycotoxin load and animal health
Start Year 2016
 
Description Extension of the project from solely industry support 
Organisation Kelvin Cave
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Following the completion of the project some key questions still remained before the technology could be marketed. The industry partners in the project namely Kelvin Cave and Silage Solution contracted Rothamsted Research to carry out the needed final experiment to compare the developed Selage from the project with the current market leader for delivery of Selenium.
Collaborator Contribution The partners funded an extension to the research project to address specific question which were developed from the initial project.
Impact The experiment has been completed and the samples are currently under analysis - an output will be a leading publication and marketing of a product.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Extension of the project from solely industry support 
Organisation Silage Soutions Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Following the completion of the project some key questions still remained before the technology could be marketed. The industry partners in the project namely Kelvin Cave and Silage Solution contracted Rothamsted Research to carry out the needed final experiment to compare the developed Selage from the project with the current market leader for delivery of Selenium.
Collaborator Contribution The partners funded an extension to the research project to address specific question which were developed from the initial project.
Impact The experiment has been completed and the samples are currently under analysis - an output will be a leading publication and marketing of a product.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Kelvin Cave 
Organisation Kelvin Cave
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Carrying our contracted research following the project to further investigate potential in the industry
Collaborator Contribution Further funding to test the new product within a field setting
Impact We are currently writing up the research outputs and have licenced the technology
Start Year 2017
 
Description Silage Solutions 
Organisation Silage Soutions Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Carrying out research contracted by silage solutions
Collaborator Contribution Funding of contracted research and providing consultancy advice
Impact Product has been licenced, papers are being developed and research is on-going
Start Year 2015
 
Title Selage 
Description The delivery of nano and organic Selenium to animals within silage by development of a Se enriched lactic acid bacteria inoculant 
IP Reference  
Protection Trade Mark
Year Protection Granted 2015
Licensed Commercial In Confidence
Impact A further research project to test against the leading competitor which I believe will result in the sale of a new novel product
 
Description 7th Greenhouse gas and animal agriculture conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited talk on sustainability metrics from S2N
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description CIEL R&D Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact As part of our membership of CIEL (Agri Tech Centre) we hosted their R&D day for industry members at North Wyke and presented outputs from the research undertaken on site.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description European Federation of Animal Science 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented research on How much is enough; Nutritional density scores of 22 food products
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Free range Dairy Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented at the Free Range Dairy workshop on improving Se status of milk - this was a farmer focus group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Global Partnership Symposium 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Cabot Institute of the University of Bristol funded a global partnership symposium on sustainability which invited research partners from many different ODA countries to discuss collaborative research. I led the area on sustainable livestock which included outputs from many research grants around sustainability of grazing lands globally.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Invited visit by Regional Government of Chongching PR China 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Invited by the Regional Government of Chongching PR China to discuss aspects of sustainable livestock production at a gathering of party members and Scientists at Rhongchang.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description NFU Cymru - Future of the Uplands 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact NFU Cymru hosted a discussion panel debate at the Royal Welsh show where I presented our research on Sustainable Livestock systems which covered many aspects of projects and research we are undertaking to determine the role and impact of livestock in a sustainable food chain and future environmental policy.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Recent Advances in Animal Nutrition 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented research on The potential of silage lactic acid bacteria derived nano-selenium as a dietary supplement in sheep
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description SCI-BSAS Livestock and Climate Change meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Improved understanding of emission sources, estimation methods and mitigation possibnilities for UK livestock produciton
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description SRUC Research Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited to give a key address to all staff at SRUC as part of their research day on the research we have undertaken at Rothamsted on Sustainable Livestock Systems and soil health.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Stapledon Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented an invited talk on sustainable livestock at the Stapledon Seminar Series
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Sustainable Food Trust - Towards net zero C 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentation of invited paper on sustainability metrics
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Talk at the International Grassland Congress 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Delivery of a research output talk on the project to leading researchers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Westminster Forum - Future of UK livestock 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Invited to give a discussion piece at the Westminster Forum on the future of UK livestock - this included outputs of many research projects and how they will influence policy development and future research areas. These included emissions from ruminant livestock, food quality and role of red meat, genetic advances of livestock and forage plants, AI use and precision agriculture on grassland farms
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description f-Tales conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presented research on Sustainability metrics associated with product quality and land use
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019