UPLB-BIOTECH technology enhances hog immunity and rids farms of stench

What? This microscopic, single-celled organism can really enhance the immunity of swine from diseases and help get rid of the stench that swine-raising causes.

Yes! This group of good bacteria promises to save the day, as it has for some backyard hog raisers in the province of Batangas.

But not without the science done at the UPLB National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (UPLB-BIOTECH) using probiotics to develop ImmunoDefense.

ImmunoDefense, an animal feed probiotics technology, is aiding Batangas feed millers and hog farmers in battling the spiralling cost of feed production and other challenges in livestock raising.

Keeping swine livelihood economically and environmentally thriving

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the total swine inventory in the country increased from 9.56 million heads in March 2021 to 9.68 million heads on March 31 this year. Although swine population in industrial farms expanded, backyard farms still dominated the industry at 70.3% while the rest (29.7%) are commercial farms.

Antonio Alcaraz, a farmer-businessman and production manager of Eight Knights Feed Mill Corp. in Taal, Batangas, has a 100-sow farm. He has been using ImmunoDefense for more than a year now and even introduced the technology to other feed millers.

According to Alcaraz, they noticed an improvement in the pig’s milk quality, as well as in its health and weight now that they are using probiotics. “The best effect of the technology is perhaps the improvement in animal’s immunity and disease resistance,” he said.

When asked why they use ImmunoDefense, Mary Ann C. Enriquez, purchasing manager of Eight Knights Feed Mill Corporation, highlighted the product’s low cost. “The best thing about ImmunoDefense is its price. The product is effective—our nutritionist can vouch for that—and affordable.”

Enriquez said that increase in income and improved hog quality can be attributed to this technology. “The product is very competitive and has a big potential. We can save a lot given that ImmunoDefense is more affordable than other probiotics in the market,” she added.

Anacleto De Castro attests to the benefits ImmunoDefense gives to his swine farm in Calaca, Batangas.

De Castro, a farmer-businessman for 25 years now, benefits from his use of ImmunoDefense since May 2021 in his hog farm in Lemery, Batangas.

“I noticed a lot of changes in the swine. They seemed to grow faster, are healthier, and contracted significantly less diseases,” he said. With more than 70 sows in his backyard farm and 300-400 fatteners reared by other caretakers, De Castro has used ImmunoDefense as a preventative rather than curative measure against diseases, thus cutting the budget for antibiotics and increasing his income by 5-10%.

“When you have a farm of healthy swine, you can cut off costs for antibiotics and medicines. When they are healthier, you can sell them faster. Income is better,” he explained.

De Castro’s hog farm behind his family home in Calaca, Batangas.
(Photo credit: Anacleto De Castro)

BIOTECH’s ImmunoDefense has also significantly reduced piggery stench, allowing De Castro to operate the hog farm right behind his family home in Lemery. He also observed that steel bars on the roof of the piggery used to corrode quickly. De Castro observed that with the use of ImmunoDefense, the piggery roof no longer rusts quickly, and the stench is no longer discernible.

Developing and distributing probiotics feed technology

ImmunoDefense is one of the probiotics-based technologies of UPLB-BIOTECH. The technology is available for swine, poultry, and for brackish and freshwater aquaculture for tilapia, bangus, and shrimp. Farmers may choose between its premix or water-soluble forms. BIOTECH’s probiotics for animal feeds technology was developed in 1992 by then-BIOTECH researcher and now retired, Dr. Laura J. Pham, to address the animal farming industry’s problems, mainly in preventing and controlling diseases.

Nico G. Dumandan, BIOTECH researcher and co-developer of ImmunoDefense, said that probiotics are a safe alternative to animal antibiotics since the microorganisms used carry the Generally Recognized As Safe or GRAS status of the Food and Drug Administration. The use of probiotics can help address challenges in the local animal industry such as environmental pollution, the spread of diseases, and low productivity.

ImmunoDefense is manufactured in the country using locally available resources, according to Dumandan. He said that it offers a viable option against antibiotics, improves feed efficiency and overall gut health, and provides immunity against diseases, which in turn, increases farm productivity and income.

UPLB-BIOTECH’s set of probiotics-based animal feed technologies: (left-right) ImmunoDefense Premix Powder for Swine and Poultry, ImmunoDefense Water Soluble Powder for Swine and Poultry, and ImmunoDefense Aqua Feed Premix Powder for Aquaculture Animals.

UPLB-BIOTECH has established formal linkages with the government and private partners that can commercialize and distribute the products. BIOTECH has recently partnered with Beak and Snout Agri Supply, a startup company based in Batangas that supplies and distributes different animal nutrition and veterinary products to poultry, livestock farms, and feed millers.

Delbert Coligado, a UPLB alumnus and the technical consultant of the company, said that they have already distributed ImmunoDefense to different areas in the country. “In more than a year, we have aggressively promoted this product, its name, and manufacturer. We were able to penetrate markets in North Luzon starting from Isabela, Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan, Tarlac. Around 22 tons have already been distributed in Batangas in the one and a half years of Beak and Snout Agri Supply operations. Now we are already in Mindoro, and we are promoting ImmunoDefense in Bicol, Cebu, Davao, and many parts of Mindanao,” he added.

UPLB alumnus and Animal Science major Delbert Coligado pushes for the use of UPLB-BIOTECH-developed Probiotics for Swine.

Coligado emphasized the importance of technology in swine rearing. “Technology and the animal farming industry go hand-in-hand. I believe all research—the brilliant minds of people—can truly help local common farmers. Through R&D and technology, we were able to develop efficient and effective products that can help the industry, especially our local swine farmers. By helping their small agribusiness, we are also giving their family a chance for a better future,” he stated.

Aside from probiotics, UPLB-BIOTECH has an array of technologies in the fields of agriculture, forestry, food, environment, energy, and industry. In its four decades of conducting research, development, and extension, the Institute has produced more than 47 products, some of which are now ready for commercialization.

Through BIOTECH’s breakthrough technologies in animal farming, hog raisers and small business owners can survive and thrive in these challenging times. (Art John I. Agapito and Sophia M. Mercado)

This article was originally published in the UPLB Website on 6 September 2022 with the URL https://horizon.uplb.edu.ph/uplb-features/uplb-technology-enhances-immunity-in-swine-and-rids-farms-of-stench/