Dr. Martin Scholten

Dr. Martin Scholten, from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, discussed the undiscovered nexus between livestock and seaweed production at the Breizh Algae Tour 2016. He described the potential to “further select and breed algae varieties, just like we did the last 50 years with rice and grains.”

Over the past 20 years Olmix, in the French province of Brittany, has evolved from a company mainly focused on animal care, to a global group active in the broad fields of plant, animal and human care, with a single global strategy: “One Health, Thanks to Algae.”

At the Breizh Algae Tour 2016, held in Amsterdam last week, the company’s annual gathering shed light on the increasingly important topics of growing plants, raising animals and processing food without pesticides, antibiotics and chemical additives. This is now possible, according to Olmix, thanks to the company’s algae technology and its unique active molecules: the MSPs (marine sulfated polysaccharides).

“This year’s event will shed light on the incredible potential of algae and their specific extracts, the MSPs, in different markets worldwide,” Olmix CEO Hervé Balusson said during the opening address.

The “One Health, Thanks to Algae!” event concept was chosen to express the theme of how algae can be a powerful tool to reduce antibiotics in livestock production and pesticide use in crop production.

“MSPs are the seaweeds’ treasure,” stated Mr. Balusson. “MSPs are found only in marine seaweeds, they are not in terrestrial plants, nor in fresh water microalgae or in yeast. MSPs have very diversified functional properties, from immunomodulation to antimicrobial activity, but also healing and digestive health.”

Olmix has started to put new products on the market stemming from this technology, such as Searup, in their animal care portfolio, that won an Innov’space award this year.

Also presenting at the event, Dr. Martin Scholten, from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, discussed what he called the “undiscovered nexus” between livestock and seaweed production. “We can harvest so much more valuable ingredients from the sea. The challenge is to apply these products in food and feed.”

“Algae is a very interesting and valuable source of protein, lipids – but even more important are the fine biologically active elements contained in the algae, the so called marine sulphated polysaccharides,” Dr. Scholten said, and identified the potential to “further select and breed algae varieties, just like we did the last 50 years with rice and grains. There is a large variation of the algae found in the sea, and variation means that you can select!”

Olmix additionally presented their SAGA concept to the audience of 400, from 44 different countries. SAGA includes a range of products to boost immunity, gut health and reduce mycotoxins during the whole production period of the animals – for use by the farmer, or products applied by the veterinarian. MSPs are an important part of this approach. “The MSPs found in algae are unique components and a real treasure,” echoed Dr. Thomas Pavie, Olmix’s “One Health” Director. “They are known to have a positive effect on immunity and gut health, but also have potential to act as antimicrobials.”

“The newly opened Breizh Algae School in France is teaching the farmers, vets and nutritionists about the right way to apply these products,” Dr. Pavie said.