Nutreco Feed Tech Challenge 2018

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Improve immunity in young ages - nucleoforce for a better life start

Considering the importance of the first ages in animal nutrition and the fact that humanity is coming to a world without antibiotics, our idea is to contribute to improve animal immunity and intestinal integrity (animal health) and to propose the introduction of nucleotides in the first feeds of the animals, such as milk replacers or prestarter and starter feeds, or into the feeds of lactating mothers, to increase nucleotide concentration in colostrum and milk. With these strategies we have proved that young animals like broilers, piglets, fish or shrimps can benefit from the effects of nucleotides by getting them from their first feeds supplemented with nucleotides: pre-starter/starter feeds or colostrum and mother’s milk.


Nucleotides are a family of nutrients and the structural units for nucleic acids (DNA and RNA). Their molecular composition is based on a sugar, a base, and from one to three phosphate groups.Depending on the nature of the base, nucleotides are classified as purine or pyrimidine. Nucleotides are involved in many cellular and molecular processes, and are quite important biomolecules.


Nucleotides are species specific: each species have their own requeriments in terms of concentration and nucleotide profile. We have analysed the profile of different species (purine and pyrimidine nucleotides) and have developed specific formulations of products that meets the requirements of each species (shrimps, fish, cows, piglets, broilers, dogs...). We have also proved the efficacy of our products in several field trials and our results are published and widely known. For example, Bioiberica developed together with Skretting (a Nutreco company) the product Nucleoforce Salmonids, and proved with them its efficiency in reducing the negative nutritional effects of soy as a unique protein source in their diets. Since them, Skretting is very happy with the product and it is using it in several of their factories all around the world.


We have already used it as an add in our products in some specific clients with very significant results and economies: in case of piglets and sows it has been proven to increase weight of piglets up to 2kg on average just giving nucleotides to the sows during the last week of gestation and till weaning. Several clients have benefit from these results improving considerabiliy the profitability of their farms.


In case of poultry, using nucleotides it is possible to produce better broilers and increase egg production and size.


Another field where these products have proved to be very useful is aquaculture: with shrimps, fish and specially salmons (in joint venture with Skretting) we have seen that supplementing nucleotides can increase survival by modulating the immune system and compensating the different challenges of farming these animals, and increase overall production and performance improving the profitability of the farm.


Our idea is to develop new nutritional strategies together with Nutreco, including nucleotides in animal feeds and taking advantadge of the benefits of these nutrients in specific situations in the life of the animals. We are interested in working is all species as we have a wide knowledge, but we would like to explore new applications in new species for us such as cattle or dairy cows.


In this field we have little experience, and we think that it could be a great opportunity to develop together with Nutreco a new product for cattle (to increase fertility and milk production) and young calves (to promote healthy and strong start, to increase growth and performance). From our experience, we have seen that nucleotides had a very positive effect reducing by a 55% the incidence of respiratory diseases during the first 111 days of life, reducing significantly the plateletcrit and the platelet volume (Alex Bach, 2009). We believe that developing a joint product and testing it together with Nutrecto we can make a difference in ruminant nutrition, increase our knowledge about the effect of nucleotides in these animals and take advantage of the benefit of these nutrients in the animals.


Another experience we have, though not published, is an improvement of the embryo production. We have seen in field trials that giving nucleotides during the period before the flushing, the number of total embryos and the number of viable embryos are increased almost by 2 times compared to cows that have not received nucleotides during this period. In pregnant cows, we also believe that supplementing nucleotides during a period before and after the birth could be useful to fight the stress associated to this event and to ease the recovery of the uterus.


We believe that either the positive effects on immunity in calves and the improved fertility in cows are very promising fields to be researched with nucleotides together with Nutreco. Other fields can be explored as the impact on milk production or intestinal health and microflora.


We are as well opened to collaborate with other species, such us piglets and sows or poultry.

Describe the problem your company wishes to solve and how your product or service will solve it

Nucleotides are considered semi-essential nutrients in adult animals due to their ability to synthesize de novo. However, there are some tissues and cells that have very limited capacity of de novo synthesis, such as intestinal mucosa, lymphocytes or bone marrow.Furthermore, in some specific moments of the life of an animal, nucleotides become very important and are highly required, and the organism faces difficulties to synthesize enough nucleotides to meet the requirements. These specific situations have one thing in common: tissue growth, cell replication, activation of the immune system, stress, and low energy. These situations are very common in:


       Newborns and young animals: in this stage of the life of the animal tissues are growing fast, intestines are developing to absorb the maximum nutrients and the immune system need to activate as soon as possible to protect from future events. All these processes require a lot a of cell replication, DNA duplication and of course nucleotides. As nucleotides are highly expensive in terms of energy, in most cases the young animals are not able to produce enough nucleotides, which means that the animals will not be able to develop its intestines and prepare their defenses to the optimum level, risking their future development and decreasing their growth potential. By supplementing with nucleotide through first feeds or through lactation (supplementing lactating mother’s feeds), we can provide nucleotides that young animals will use to achieve all these goals: improve intestinal health and intestine development to better absorb the nutrients, modulate the immune system to get ready as soon as possible to face future events, and to focus all their energy in growth.


       Intestinal health: The use of soy as a protein source in animal feeds, mostly in young animals, can be dangerous because of the antinutritional factors, that can produce inflammation in the intestines and reduce the digestibility in the diet. By the inclusion of nucleotides, we can modulate the immune system to decrease inflammation and develop a better and healthy intestine to improve nutrient absorption. This approach was used to develop a product for salmons and trouts together with Skretting, from Nutreco’s group, which they have been using ever since allowing them to replace or animal protein by soy protein without worrying of ANF.


       Stressed animals: In some situations, farm animals face specific situations that decrease their defensive systems and might be challenging, decreasing growth, causing infections or increasing mortality. Hot summers or cold winters can produce a temperature stress, very crowded farms can produce high density stress. During stress, animals stop eating, get weak and are challenged by infections or diseases. By adding nucleotides through their feeds in these special periods we can modulate the immune system to avoid or minimize the risk of these events, avoiding economic losses or production losses.


       Immunosuppressed animals (vulnerable, infected, ill…): in some cases, animals are ill, face diseases or are challenged with some bad event that affects their overall health. In these situations, nucleotides help to get the immune system ready to have a speedy recovery and minimize the impact. Also, vaccinated animals respond better to treatment when supplemented with nucleotides.



As far as we know Nutreco does not use nucleotides, at least of this high standards and quality. We believe this is a great opportunity to prove their effect and synergy with the knowledge of the company, and thus improve the quality of feeds and work for a more sustainable and profitable industry.

Describe other business assistance that you are seeking from Nutreco

We and our supplier can support Nutreco in most of your needs, such as documental / technical support, in farm trials, maybe product (depending the quantities and supplier commitment).


At the moment, Nutreco and Bioiberca have a very strong relationship in different animal nutrition fields. As abovementioned, Skretting is one of the most important client for Bioiberica in nucleotides.


Also, Trouw Nutrition is one of the most important clients of Bioiberica in Spain and Europe in hydrolysed proteins for piglet feeds, as well as a strong client of glucosaminoglycans for petfood.

Are you available to participate in the final event in the Netherlands 28, 29, and 30 May? All expenses will be covered by Nutreco


Describe how the prize - a validation trial in our facilities - could boost the development of your business

The validation trial in your facilities could support our farm trials, our supplier trials and also the academic trials that we have, and could also add value and generate new knowledge on the use and application of nucleotides for animal nutrition.


However, the most important is to improve our nutritional solutions, being better than other players in the market. This is a very significant improvement.


These range of products Nucleoforce (source of nucleotides from yeast origin) are manufactured, researched and sold by Bioibérica S.A.U., ( a very important player in animal solutions but also in pharmaceutical industry. We are partners from Bioibérica since long time ago for Portuguese and Brasilian markets. However, before submitting this idea and proposal, we got in touch with Bioiberica to have their agreement and support us in this importante project.


The big added value is:


- To introduce the nucleotides in your comercial products (at least the superior products);

- To add a MKT support to comunicate the product improvement and their benefits;

- To tell the market the benefits of using these products;

- To facilitate the nucleotides maneuver (these products have a a very small dosage in feed and are difficult to maneuver in farm).


If you already have a website for your business, please share the URL

Partner website: Bioibérica S.A.U., (

Tagged users

teresa debesa 5 months ago

The idea has been progressed to the next milestone.

Reply 1

Saravanan Subramanian 4 months ago

Hi Vasco,

Thanks for your proposal. You are interested to explore/test your nucleotide product in cattle or dairy cows together with Nutreco.
Are you in the process of developing a novel nucleotide products that are more suitable for cattle?

Best regards,

Reply 0

Vasco Pacheco 4 months ago

Dear Saravanan,

“The idea is to collaborate with Nutreco to develop an exclusive nucleotide formula that is the most suitable for ruminants. In order to do so, it would be necessary to analyse the nucleotide composition of the milk of different commercial breeds of cows. With this information we would be able to develop a product that has the right concentration and profile of nucleotides and is cost-effective. Then, together with Nutreco, we would design a trial (or a series of trials) to prove the efficacy of the product for different applications (cattle, dairy cows, fertility, immunity & intestinal health, etc), based on our current experience and results.”

Another option would be to direclty work with the current Nucleoforce Cows, but given that this product has little research I think that doing this we have the opportunity to develop a better and optimised product and test its effect from different points of views and applications.

Best Regards,

Reply 1

teresa debesa 4 months ago

The idea has been progressed to the next milestone.

Reply 1

teresa debesa 4 months ago

Status label added: Full business case submitted

Reply 0