Wednesday, March 29, 2023

The role of fungi in animal health and well-being

Mycoalga-feed is a supraautonomous operational group that is in the final phase of developing a project to reduce or eliminate the use of antibiotics in poultry farming, through a diet that includes natural and innovative materials high in its formula, value and immunomodulatory, immunostimulating and antimicrobial capabilities, capable of strengthening the immune system of animals, intervening in the prevention of diseases and pathologies and in the betterment of the animal. All this is intended to contribute to the foundation of the One Health concept of that WHO.

Over the years the poultry industry has had to adapt to new European regulations to reduce the use of antibiotics, using them only under veterinary prescription and in specific cases. But it is clear that the growth of the world’s population, such as we are experiencing, is associated with an increase in the demand for food, which is why new farms are constantly being created, each day with a greater and more fertile capacity to support the spread. among chickens, because in this industry the most frequent routes of infection are digestive and inhalation, due to the breakdown of the intestinal barrier, which facilitates the introduction of pathogenic microorganisms that need to treat diseases. However, alternative measures to drug use have been explored over the years. One of these is the development of a functional raw material which, when incorporated into the feed, strengthens the local immunity.

The abilities of fungi

Mushrooms are natural complementary foods that have the ability to improve animal health and well-being through the molecules they contain. In addition to the high protein and dietary fiber content, we can also highlight the presence of sterols, vitamin D precursors, phenols, terpenoids, PSK or β-glucans, which are attributed antioxidant, antitumor and generally contributing abilities. the immune system, increasing the activity capacity of macrophages, neutrophils and NK cells.

The main molecules are present in fungi.

It should also be noted that mushrooms contain polysaccharides, which is attributed to a prebiotic function, modulating the intestinal microbiota of broiler chickens and, if supplied from the beginning of growth, can favor the development of the correct intestinal microbiota. This can be translated into an advantage when it comes to improving efficiency and conversion rates.


Representation of the cells of the intestinal walls of the chicken.


This project allowed us to carefully review the current state of the art and study a large body of scientific literature, which together with all our knowledge allowed us to develop 5 fungal cores composed of various synergistic fungi, which we submitted. for evaluation by In Vitro tests of immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial abilities, both before and after avian gastric simulation at the AINIA technology center.


Summary of evaluation of immunostimulatory (“idle” defense cells) and anti-inflammatory (“active” defense cells) effects. Source: AINIA Project: Mycoalgae-feed.

All the fungal samples were analyzed by the AINIA technological center, where they were able to conclude that the 5 fungal core samples analyzed had an immunostimulating effect and the cores 1 and 4 also had an anti-inflammatory effect.

It is important to underline that none of the nuclear proposals has ever represented any negative event, both in the form of food and through the avian digestive simulation.

This analysis allowed us to determine core 1 as the best candidate for the next phase, which responds to the in vivo test. Today it is in the final phase of development in an experimental field run by UVESA.


Chickens participating in the UVESA experimental farm project. Source: UVESA Project: Mycoalgae-feed.

The selected fungal nucleus was specially formed by an exquisite composition of fungi that act in synergy and contain certain biomolecules of interest that affect the metabolic field in the avian model. Currently, it is protected under industry secrecy, but we can confirm that its main component is Herimax®.

Herimax® is a functional raw material of fungal origin and high technological development, patented and licensed by Hifas da Terra to Hifas Veterinary for use in the clinical treatment of animals. The patented filter DSM34087 of the Hedgehog presents a great balance between the main biomolecules.


Representation of the anti-inflammatory activity of Herimax.


The use of functional raw materials based on fungi helps to improve the health status of treated animals, naturally and without contributing to the resistance of pathogens to drugs. This is possible due to the sum of the molecules of interest, which are involved in the metabolism of chickens, favoring improvement in the immune system, as immunostimulatory and immunomodulatory agents. In addition, we must also consider prebiotic resources that contribute to modulating and promoting the correct development of the intestinal microbiota.

All this has a major economic benefit for the industry, because it not only reduces the financial losses from the treatment of diseases and accidents, but also helps improve the performance of pastures.

MICOALGA-FEED is an innovation project funded 80% by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (FEADER) of the European Union and 20% by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, within the framework of the national program of rural development. 2014-2020. The Directorate General for Rural Development, Innovation and Agri-Food Training (DGDRIFA) is the authority in charge of applying the said aid.

Total Project budget: €524,847.66. Total donations: €505,519.66.

Logo Micoalga Cibarium


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