Alltech launches its first European-based in vitro fermentation model

07 Jul 2020

Evaluating nutrient availability​ with Alltech IFM™

To accurately assess the availability of energy and nutrients of feeds, reliable and rapid feed analyses are required. Traditional methods of estimating digestibility focus on end-point measurements and do not provide information about the rates of digestion or about how the diet will impact rumen function, which are very important to know when assessing the amount of nutrients available to the animal.

Earlier this year, global animal nutrition company Alltech, launched its first European-based in vitro fermentation model, Alltech IFM, in collaboration with Harper Adams University. Alltech IFM simulates rumen fermentation and evaluates the nutritive value of a ration and end-product formation. The test consists of incubating feeds with rumen fluid and a buffer system to mimic natural rumen fermentation. The goal of looking at rumen fermentation with Alltech IFM is to minimise the waste product or minimise the gas production and to maximise volatile fatty acids and microbial biomass, which are critical nutrients to the cow.

Alltech IFM is an analytical tool used by farmers, nutritionists and feed manufacturers to screen individual ingredients, formulate rations and make informed decisions about the quality of feeds or total mixed rations (TMRs). The evaluation of TMRs or complete feeds is advantageous because it closely simulates animal feeding and evaluates the associative effects of ingredients within the ration. Nutritionists have traditionally relied on nutritional models and feed chemical characteristics to formulate diets for dairy and beef animals. Many nutritional services provide measurements of chemical composition and digestibility, but this information is static and does not provide a complete evaluation of nutrient availability. Alltech IFM is a more dynamic diagnostic tool that estimates the kinetics of feed digestion, in addition to other important end products of rumen fermentation, rather than simply providing an end-point measurement of digestibility.

More sustainable dairy and beef production

The use of Alltech IFM to formulate more rumen-friendly diets helps producers reduce not only physical feed waste but environmental waste, too. With 60% of a typical dairy or beef farm’s carbon footprint derived from enteric emissions (i.e., methane from the rumen) and total feed inputs, nutrition has a key role to play. Used together with an Alltech E-CO2​ on-farm environmental assessment, Alltech IFM is an effective tool for predicting farm- and feed-specific enteric methane emissions. Data on methane emissions calculated by using these tools together, has been verified by the Carbon Trust to sit within tier 3 of an IPCC tier 2 farm model. The introduction of Alltech IFM to the UK allows producers, nutritionists and the feed industry benefit from further technical support from Alltech, particularly when it comes to addressing those major environmental concerns.

Find out more on the Alltech IFM laboratory at Harper Adams University.