Within a few weeks time feed additive company Lucta is to launch a virtual library that contains all research papers and other communications on flavours and palatants that were produced regarding its own products.
A selected group of international journalists was invited to have a sneak-preview of this online library and to visit Lucta’s laboratory and production facilities located in the little village of Montornés des Valles, just north of Barcelona in Spain.
Lucta was founded in 1949 and since then still is a family owned company with approximately 500 employees and a turnover of €120 million. The company has a global presence with offices and/or production units in Colombia, Mexico, USA, China, Brazil and Poland.
Fragrances, flavours and feed additives each take about one third of this turnover. For fragrances and flavours (mostly for the human sector) the company is a minor player in the market, but for feed additives it considers itself to be market leader in flavours and palatants in animal feed.
“Our objective is to be profitable,” says Carlos Prada (photo), group managing director at Lucta. “We try to achieve this through a combination of imagination, creativity and technology.”
“We specialise in innovative creation,” adds Volker Altenbokum, director of the feed additives division. “We have our own research farm, because we need to demonstrate the value of a feed additive for palatability.”
This Swine Experimental Unit is run with the additional science of the University of Gerona. Some 400 piglets can be housed and preferences of the animals are measured in liquid and solid feeds. Also feeding behaviour of the animals can be observed with cameras.
R&D team leader Ignacio Ipharraguerre tries to explain palatability. Is it just a sensation (smell, taste) or does a flavour have a nutritional value?
“We believe that a flavour definitely has a nutritional value. Piglets after weaning often have difficulties to eat enough solid feeds. If a flavour added to the feed can increase feed intake it certainly has nutritional value. We have enough research to back this up,” he said.
To make this research better available marketing manager Juan Antonio Javierre the last two years has been working on collecting, classifying and translating all the scientific and technical papers, abstracts and posters that had been published related to Lucta research.
Aiming at nutritionist at the feed mill and interested people in the scientific world the presentations will be available in a multi-searchable virtual library in the course of January 2010.
“For nutritionists wanting to go deeper into the matter we have linked the reference list to all internal papers involved. Also all papers will be available in English and Spanish and in high resolution printable pdf-format. I believe this is quite unique for a feed additives company,” Javierre adds.