Mark Lyons speaks at Alltech's Global 500
Mark Lyons and Karl Dawson closed Alltech's Global 500 with a presentation on Revolutionizing ruminant markets: Seizing control through innovations. They covered several cutting edge nutrition and health technologies that Alltech is exploring, including: algae, enzymes, and nutrigenomics. These are very exciting technologies that have the potential to help farmers feed our growing population and at the same time address some of our most urgent environmental problems.
The cost of feedstocks is likely to become an ever-increasing challenge for dairy famers, beef producers and animal agriculture as a whole. Scarcity of arable land will become an ever-growing concern and the biofuel industry is competing with producers for corn. Enzymes will allow us to use alternative feed stocks that have been considered waste materials in the past, while increasing the efficiency of current feedstuffs. In addition, yeast-based feed supplements can improve digestive efficiency, decrease greenhouse gas production, replace antimicrobial promotants and improve antioxidant activites in feeds.
The most exciting area of research described by Dawson and Lyons is based on one of Earth's most primitive organisms - algae. There are roughly 800,000 species of algae, each with their own biochemistry and biosynthetic capabilities. About 1,500 unique compounds have been identified that are produced only by algae. Many of these are being used in the pharmaceutical industry. The animal feed industry is beginning to find exciting uses for algae.
"The future of farming, might be a tall building in the middle of New York, using algae to produce biomass from sunlight. The potential is really great. You can generate fuels from algae and you can also feed animals." said Dawson. In the last 30 years, Alltech has developed several innovative feed supplements based on yeast. According to Dawson, algae has about 1,000 times the biodiversity and biocapability of yeast.