The poultry industry is big business, but also faces big challenges. Since 1992, chicken has outpaced beef in per capita sales in the U.S., and during 2016, wholesale poultry sales were $60 billion. Despite this progress, a barrier to continued growth in this sector is pathogen control and other poultry health challenges that have demonstrated their potential to impact sales negatively.
Avian Flu (HPAI) outbreaks in the U.S. have impacted exports significantly, according to Nan-Dirk Mulder, senior global animal protein analyst, Rabobank: 'There is weak demand for U.S. broiler exports, which may be down 10 percent due to the trade restrictions that have resulted from the HPAI outbreaks.'
Improving the health and safety of poultry is clearly of great importance to industry because it can help shore up sales and reduce potentially large losses at a time when margins are struggling well below 5%.
The economics of modern poultry production dictate the crowded nature of poultry coops or cages. In turn, crowding makes it difficult to manage cleanliness and pathogen transmission. Producers are doing their best with the limited arsenal of solutions available to them today, but they are still searching for novel technologies to ensure maximum health for their animals, maximum quality and quantity for their products, and minimum environmental impacts.
Disease Management in Poultry
In the spring of 2015, the second largest egg producer in the US lost 4 million laying hens to avian flu, illustrating a serious need for stronger disease management practices in the poultry industry. The economic effects of this virus are profound - in 2015 a total of 42 million chickens and turkeys were killed or culled because of avian influenza. The Cargill turkey product recall in 2011, where 36 million pounds of ground turkey were recalled due to Salmonella contamination, is another stark reminder of the importance of strong disinfection practices both in poultry production as well as processing.
Other diseases affecting the profitability of poultry production include cellulitis, a condition caused by the infection of cuts and scratches on birds by E. coli, which results in an estimated $12 million in annual condemnation losses in the U.S, as well as Coccidiosis, Coryza, Marek's Disease, Newcastle Disease, Mycoplasma, and Salmonellosis.
In the face of these problems, poultry and egg producers have historically turned to antibiotics and extensive use of chemical cleaners. However, in light of rising antimicrobial resistance, producers are being pressured to curtail prophylactic antibiotic use. Recent studies have isolated several strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in production chickens, illustrating the need for poultry producers to take steps to help stem the tide of antibiotic-resistant pathogens that threaten both animal and human health. Disease prevention in the poultry industry is a battle fought on many fronts, with water and waste management being major areas of concern. It is of utmost importance for water, at all stages in production and processing, to be free of bacterial and chemical contaminants. Existing water treatment technologies, such as the commonly employed chlorine dioxide (ClO2), fall short in several aspects, from unpleasant or toxic fumes, corrosion, pH sensitivity, and high operating costs. There is a clear market need for an effective, safe, and economically sustainable clean water technology to meet the challenges of water treatment in the poultry industry.
Poultry production, like any livestock industry, also produces a large quantity of organic waste, particularly manure. Ask any poultry worker, and they will attest to the powerful and unpleasant odors that this waste generates. A significant contributor to this effect is ammonia, which is produced in abundance by waste in poultry facilities. In addition to being unpalatable, ammonia accumulation has been shown to negatively impact the health of production chickens, emphasizing the importance of managing this and other odor-causing compounds in poultry production facilities.
BioLargo Solutions for Healthy Water, Healthy Animals, Healthy Food
Novel food and water safety technologies developed by BioLargo, Inc. (BLGO) can help alleviate many of the issues associated with crowded poultry production and processing sites, including disease management, sanitation, and odor control. All BioLargo platforms use the power of free iodine, a safe, long-studied disinfectant not associated with the development of antibiotic resistance in bacteria.
BioLargo's sustainable technologies have not gone unnoticed. The company reports it was recently awarded a research grant by the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California, as part of their Innovation Conservation Program. The MWD, whose mission is to deliver high-quality water to Southern California while minimizing environmental impacts, is one of the nation's leading innovators in water conservation. MWD has awarded BioLargo this funding to evaluate its advanced clean water solution, the Advanced Oxidation System (AOS), for use in California's poultry and food processing sector. This award is the first from MWD and the first US-based grant awarded to BioLargo, with all its prior awards having come from Canada. It is the 31st research grant awarded to BioLargo and its technical collaborators to help advance the AOS to commercialization. The company reports that it has a number of research projects moving ahead to validate the AOS for use in well-water treatment for livestock production, animal health improvements from iodine drinking water, and process water recycling. BioLargo has recently begun working with the Alberta Chicken Producers association and commercial poultry producers. It has also recently become a member of North American Meat Institute.
To further boost commercialization of the AOS, BioLargo recently developed a relationship with Carollo Engineering, arguably the top water-related engineering firm in the US, to conduct verification analysis on BioLargo's technology. Dennis Calvert, CEO of BioLargo, commented, 'Carollo will be providing independent third party oversight of some initial demonstration testing starting in February 2017.'
This comes on the heels of news reported last month that BioLargo had developed a working relationship with Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I) to pursue mutual business opportunities and work towards larger industrial scale applications that can serve BioLargo and CB&I clients. CB&I is a world-leading engineering, procurement, fabrication, and construction company, and a provider of environmental and infrastructure services. CB&I has significant interests in environmental remediation, and has numerous clients whose challenges could be met with BioLargo's patented technologies.
BioLargo's Lowest Cost, Highest Impact AOS Water Treatment Solution
BioLargo, Inc.'s Advanced Oxidation System, or AOS, is a state-of-the-art water treatment platform that uses three simple ingredients: iodine chemistry, cutting-edge water filtration materials, and electrolysis, to achieve outstanding water disinfection and decontamination results. Researchers have found the AOS to be effective against Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli, reducing bacterial values exceeding 6 logs (99.9999%) in highly contaminated water. This performance is roughly 100x greater than the best-in-class industry standard for poultry water disinfection, chlorine dioxide (ClO2). Researchers call the results 'unprecedented'. The AOS is also incredibly energy-efficient, estimated to consume is less than 1/20th the energy of UV disinfection, electro-chlorination, or ozonation systems. Dennis Calvert, BioLargo CEO says, 'The AOS Filter in its Alpha configuration was specifically designed for deployment in the agricultural and livestock industries.'
Isan System to Maintain Water Sanitation, Prevent Spread of Disease, and Reduce Airborne Wastes
AOS is not the only BioLargo technology that may impact the poultry industry. BioLargo's Isan System is an efficient, low-cost, reliable aqueous iodine delivery system, and already approved by the EPA for use in poultry drinking water. The Isan provides residual iodine for livestock production water, enabling persistent, long-lasting disinfection for that water as it is delivered to the animals. Featuring full automation, the Isan is a set-it-and-forget-it water treatment solution, and allows effective and cost-efficient water disinfection with minimal labor requirements. The Isan produces pure and accurate doses of iodine, a safe and long-understood disinfectant not associated with the development of any bacterial resistance - an important fact in a time when antimicrobial resistance is of the utmost concern. Iodine is also effective at a broader range of pH than chlorine-based solutions, meaning less labor is required to monitor and maintain the pH of water dosed by the Isan, and there is little chance of treatment failure due to pH fluctuations. Iodine is effective against a vast range of bacteria, viruses, and fungi, making it an ideal disinfectant to defend against the diverse pathogens relevant to the poultry industry.
Iodine, such as that used in the Isan system, has other benefits other than making clean water. Iodine has been shown to cause increased weight gain in some poultry, as well as negate some of the negative effects of bromine consumption in chickens. The beneficial effects of iodine in feed water are currently under additional study in a research collaboration between BioLargo and University of Alberta scientists. The study focuses on the effect of iodine in drinking water on the health of chicken guts and the composition of bacteria that live there, which has in recent years come to light as an important health determinant in all animals.
The Isan system is ideal for disinfecting large amounts of feed water, and is compatible with misting or spraying systems, providing a surface and air disinfection solution perfect for poultry production facilities. Iodine misted by an Isan system may be useful to reduce the incidence of topical infections such as cellulitis, a condition caused by scratches infected with E. coli, which iodine has well-documented efficacy against. Since cellulitis is a cause of meat condemnation and is estimated to cause upwards of $12 million in losses in the US alone each year, Isan implementation could save producers significant costs in this area alone. This is an area that is targeted for further study.
CupriDyne Clean to Reduce Odor and Improve Air Quality
In addition to AOS and Isan, BioLargo's CupriDyne Clean provides safe, gentle, and effective odor control solutions for industry. The FDA considers all components of CupriDyne Clean to be GRAS (generally recognized as safe) for consumption by humans and animals. It works by eliminating odor-causing chemicals (volatile organic compounds) rather than masking them with fragrances. CupriDyne Clean can improve air quality in poultry production facilities. CupriDyne clean has been shown to be effective in eliminating ammonia, a major contributor to unpleasant odors in livestock production and a source of health problems for livestock animals.
CupriDyne Clean is eco-friendly, non-toxic, and non-sensitizing, making it suitable for busy industrial settings where workers are present. CupriDyne Clean is also an effective stain remover and all-surface wash, and combined with its dramatic odor control, makes the perfect product to maintain a healthier, more productive facility.
Potential Beneficiaries of BioLargo Poultry Solutions
Disruptive products commonly face challenging barriers to market entry (e.g. regulatory hurdles, incumbent advantage), and one would expect BioLargo's technologies to be no different. As BioLargo's superior products find their way to market, major poultry producers that stand to benefit from BioLargo's poultry solutions are:
- Tyson Foods, Inc. (TSN), processed 33.41 million broilers at an average live weight of 5.75 pounds to produce 175.6 million RTC pounds of chicken on an average weekly basis in 2015.
- U.S. broiler producer, Pilgrim's Pride Corporation (PPC), processed 28.85 million broilers weekly at an average live weight of 5.71 pounds to produce 141.67 million pounds of chicken.
- Sanderson Farms, Inc. (SAFM)
- Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. (CALM), is the largest egg producer.
- BRF S. A. (BRFS) is a leading producer of poultry and pork in Brazil.
- $19 billion Hormel Foods Corporation (HRL) provides a diverse array of meat products including numerous poultry products.
- $17 billion Conagra Brands, Inc. (CAG)
With its high impact, low cost clean water and air solutions, poultry industry operators should soon be flocking to BioLargo to help them achieve increased profits and decreased risk across the board.
About BioLargo, Inc.
BioLargo 'makes life better' by delivering technology-based products that help solve some of the world's most important problems that threaten water, food, agriculture, healthcare and energy. More information can be found about the company and its subsidiaries at www.BioLargo.com. The subsidiary BioLargo Water, Inc. (www.BioLargoWater.com) showcases the Advanced Oxidation System (AOS), a product designed to eliminate common, troublesome, and toxic contaminants in water in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost of current technologies. It is the winner of the Technology Star award by New Technology Magazine for its breakthrough innovation for the oil industry. BioLargo also owns a 50% interest in the Isan System, which was honored with a 'Top 50 Water Company for the 21st Century' award by the Artemis Project. The subsidiary Odor-No-More Inc., features award-winning products serving the pet, equine, and consumer markets, including the Nature's Best Solution(R) and Deodorall(R) brands. (www.OdorNoMore.com). The subsidiary Clyra Medical Technologies, Inc. (www.ClyraMedical.com), focuses on advanced wound care management and is preparing to make FDA 510(k) applications in 2017.