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Marine minerals reaping success in the animal feed industry

The application of seaweed in the animal feed business is now a scientifically recognised pathway to help global agriculture meet its sustainability goals. The Irish based animal nutrition company Celtic Sea Minerals has been at the forefront of this research.

The marine minerals market increases at a steady growth rate. Due to the research and development, the true values of marine minerals seems to be restricted to the manufacturers’ knowledge. A clear sign for Celtic Sea Minerals to take ownership of the message.

Michael Ryan, CEO since 1993, explains “Indeed we have recognised that we need to communicate our company’s commitment to science and full circle sustainability. On the product application side, our science shows significant benefits in feed efficiency across ruminant and monogastric species. Further independent research from the University of Western Australia also showed a 28% reduction in methane when our brand leading product Acid Buf was fed as part of a rumen control experiment. We have independently demonstrated a win for agriculture and the environment,” added Ryan.

Prime source approach

Lithothamnium calcareum is a small red seaweed and rapidly absorbs minerals and nutrients from the seawater. It eventually grows into a brittle coral-like structure containing a matrix of bioavailable minerals playing together in concert.

“We believe that the only way to deliver the highest quality standard is to control every step of the production process. This is exactly what we do, starting at the source. We have exclusive access to unique marine algae deposits off the coast of Iceland. As we have developed the science, we have become very aware that the source of the Lithothamnium is very important. It appears that deposits grown in warmer waters are completely different in how they behave in an animal feeding situation,” Ryan explains.

Science based nutritional solutions

Initially, Celtic Sea Minerals developed a novel rumen buffer called Acid Buf. For nearly 30 years, the product is used globally on a large scale to reduce the risk for rumen acidosis. Scientific publications also show that the product improves animal health and cattle productivity by driving feed efficiency.

Following a chance experiment in pigs, combined with scientific insights of the human application, it was suggested that these highly bioavailable marine minerals could be beneficial for monogastric animals too. This has led to the development of a brand-new product CeltiCal. It is already available in certain parts of the world and being launched officially into the Asian market this September.

Research in pigs has especially focussed on reducing the risk of gastric ulcers. Meike Bouwhuis PhD, Technical Manager, explains: “The unique properties observed with the inclusion of CeltiCal into pig diets have resulted in significant improvements in gastric health and feed conversion ratio (FCR).

The prevalence of gastric ulcers in pigs has been getting a lot of attention in recent years, due to the high incidences observed. It can have significant effects on both performance and mortality in pig herds. In multiple experiments, CeltiCal reduced the incidence and severity of gastric lesions, inflammation, and ulcers under different circumstances.”

CeltiCal has also shown to improve pig behaviour and reduce pig aggression. Pigs seem to have the ability to cope much better with stressors. This results in easier-to-manage herds with improved animal health, welfare, and pig performance.

Celtic Sea Minerals is an animal nutrition company building the science around seaweed nutrition. “Our message to the industry is that we are powered by science,” Ryan concludes.