Veterinary probiotic preparations to protect against plant toxins

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2015-33610-23679
Agency Tracking Number: 2015-00421
Amount: $99,994.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.3
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2015
Award Year: 2015
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2015-06-03
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
503 MARYLAND BLVD, Mexico Beach, FL, 32456-0000
DUNS: 079274597
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Glenn Johnson
 Chief Scientist
 (850) 276-9312
Business Contact
 Glenn Johnson
Title: Chief Scientist
Phone: (850) 276-9312
Research Institution
Ingested plant and fungal toxin poisonings account for as much $1 billion per year in livestock losses for US farmers and ranchers. Additional indirect losses from inability to use infested pasture lands and contaminated feed and fodder expand problems for agriculture. An additional economic concern stems from threats to export markets. Feed and fodder exporting is a multi-billion dollar enterprise, if foreign-owned livestock are harmed by contaminated products, our standing in global markets can be seriously damaged, decreasing domestic revenues. Furthermore, the ingested toxins can enter human supply through contaminated milk and meat products.Animals show different tolerances to various toxins, upon further examination; it is clear in many cases that the tolerance is mediated by commensal bacterial populations in the animal gut. As an example, sheep can eat twice their body weight of toxic "tansy ragwort" with no ill-effects; by comparison, cattle suffer systemic poisoning after eating as little as 5% of their body weight. The cattle, however, can tolerate much greater doses when microbes from sheep rumen are transferred to their gut as a probiotic supplement. Devising a means to protect and stabilize those protective bacterial cells to allow storage, and then facilitate their transfer to sensitive animals is an important concept to promote animal health and food safety, and may be broadly applicable to the probiotic industry.In order to develop and demonstrate the detoxifying probiotic concept, microbes will be cultivated in the laboratory and then encapsulated using a series of proprietary methods. The combinations of coatings protect the microbes from oxygen exposure (which will rapidly inactivate anaerobic microbes) as well as other environmental factors that may inhibit survival during storage or germination in the gut of the new host. The first tests will assess whether protected cells will grow and then degrade model toxins in laboratory systems that mimic animal rumen. Upon successful demonstration in this phase, in later work, similarly encapsulated microbes will be transferred to live animal tests to assess their effective protection against plant or fungal toxins.As a first product, the packaged organisms may be taken as an oral probiotic to protect livestock against plant toxins. The detoxifying agents may be specifically tailored to protect animals against toxins endemic to a region or season, effectively decreasing risk of poisoning using a natural and cost effective method. The treatment decreases direct agricultural losses, provides protection for feed and fodder export markets, and protects human food supply against tainted products. A larger view shows impact on the entire probiotic industry. The importance and complexity of the "microbiome" is evident in many aspects of human health. Presently, there is no effective means for fostering anaerobic probiotic strains. The methods to be refined here can provide product to build and enhance that important component of the human microbiome and used in probiotic and nutraceutical industries.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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