Poultry Projects

Campylobacter Research Project

Devenish Nutrition in conjunction with Carton Brothers, Clonee are currently undertaking a major poultry research project to study the effect of chosen water soluble products on the Campylobacter population in broiler chickens. This project will be conducted over a two year period and substantial grant assistance for the study has been provided by InterTradeIreland through their INNOVA Research & Development support program.

Campylobacter are bacteria which cause gastroenteritis in humans and are recognized as the most frequently reported food-borne cause of gastroenteritis in humans within the European Union. Poultry meat is acknowledged as a potential source of the bacteria for human infection. Live birds can harbor high levels of Campylobacter in their intestines without exhibiting any signs of clinical disease. During bird processing, these bacteria can transfer onto the carcass, contaminating the poultry meat. Two main routes of human infection are suggested, namely undercooking of the poultry meat & / or cross contamination of ready-to-eat foods with bacteria from raw poultry meat.

The poultry industry is actively seeking to find effective methods of reducing Campylobacter carriage levels in poultry through industry led research such as the Devenish/Cartons INNOVA project. Strategies to reduce the Campylobacter population can be applied at various stages in the production chain including in the live bird, at the processing plant and/ or on the carcass. The Devenish/Cartons INNOVA project will target the Campylobacter population in the live bird thereby reducing the bacterial load entering the processing plant which should in turn reduce the risk of cross contamination of the poultry meat.

In vitro laboratory tests have demonstrated that a wide variety of feed additives exhibit antibacterial activity against Campylobacter but such activity must also be demonstrated in the live bird if carriage of the bacteria in commercial flocks is to be successfully reduced. The Devenish/Cartons INNOVA project will evaluate a range of additives applied via the drinking water for their effect on the Campylobacter population of the live bird prior to slaughter.

Control of Necrotic Enteritis in poultry

Devenish Nutrition has undertaken two projects to investigate the causes of necrotic enteris and to evaluate nutritional manipulation of the gut as a means of controlling the disease. Both projects were run in conjunction with Queen's University Belfast and the Veterinary Sciences Division of AFBI Northern Ireland. Generous funding and commercial support was provided by Invest NI. Considerable assistance was also provided by local NI poultry companies, Moy Park and O'Kane Poultry in the design and implementation of these projects.

Project outcomes

  • Development of unique biological NE model which does not rely upon extreme dietary manipulation with fish meal
  • Identification of novel virulence factors associated with pathogenic strains of C. Perfringens
  • Evaluation of a range of commercial compounds for NE control
  • Identification of novel compounds for improved gut health

Litter quality and FPD in turkeys

In conjunction with The Turkey Sector Group of the British Poultry Council, Devenish Nutrition is one of eight UK companies providing funding for a PhD student to investigate nutritional influences on water consumption of turkeys and its effect on litter quality. This work commenced in October 2007 and is being conducted at the Scottish Agricultural College in Auchincruive.

Broiler Breeder Modelling

Devenish Nutrition has funded a broiler breeder PhD study at University of Kwazulu-Natal, S. Africa under the supervision of Dr. Rob Gous. The study aimed to develop the optimum intakes of energy and amino acids for maintenance and egg production and to apply this to computer simulation of the optimal feeding strategy for broiler breeders.

Customer Projects

Much of the Devenish Nutrition's R & D is carried out in conjunction with our customers through field trials in a commercial setting. We view each of our customers as unique and tailor our research accordingly. We compete in a global market and as such we must focus on efficiency of production, both from a nutritional and management point of view, as well as product enhancement and differentiation.

Devenish Nutrition gets involved in all aspects of poultry production from poultry management on farm, to hatchery management, disease control and product marketing.

Examples of the research areas we have been actively involved in include:

  • Protein/ energy balance studies
  • Feed programming
  • Product evaluation trials
  • Added value product
  • Food safety