A major research project, which could have widespread benefits for the poultry industry in Northern Ireland and beyond, has been successfully completed by Devenish Nutrition with support from the Invest Northern Ireland START programme.
Devenish Nutrition, working with Queen’s University and the Veterinary Sciences Division of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, successfully produced a highly accurate model of a poultry condition known as Necrotic Enteritis.
The model was used to test the beneficial effects of various diets in promoting health in poultry. Devenish Nutrition is now confident that this natural approach could be used as an alternative to treatment in preventing the condition.
Leslie Morrison, chief executive of Invest Northern Ireland, says: “This is a highly significant project which is tackling a major health problem in the poultry industry worldwide. The successful development of a scientifically based study system for the condition will allow natural methods of controlling it to be developed.
“This will have major implications for both food quality and safety and once applied in the industry will give the Northern Ireland poultry industry a market advantage in being able to promote the sale of its products.”
The industry is of considerable importance to the Northern Ireland economy, employing some 7,000 people directly or indirectly.
Owen Brennan, Managing Director of agri-technology company, Devenish Nutrition says: “This programme allows us to meet the challenge of the poultry industry in finding alternative means of controlling enteric conditions without compromising bird performance. It has a long-term focus and it allows us to carry out all of the scientific research necessary for us to contribute to a sustainable poultry industry.
“If the developments we foresee come to pass, this programme will have allowed us to discover a cost-effective preventative solution to the poultry industry's necrotic enteritis challenge and to develop an early practical detection system for the condition."
The START programme aims to increase the amount of industrial research undertaken by Northern Ireland based companies either on their own or in partnership with Northern Ireland universities. The research aims to bring about a significant improvement in existing products, processes or services or to generate knowledge which will be used in the development of new products, processes or services. The Invest NI START programme is part funded by the EU Building Sustainable Prosperity fund.