Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS


ECO-FCE Berichtzusammenfassung

Project ID: 311794
Gefördert unter: FP7-KBBE
Land: United Kingdom

Periodic Report Summary 2 - ECO-FCE (A whole-systems approach to optimising feed efficiency and reducing the ecological footprint of monogastrics)

Project Context and Objectives:
The overarching objectives of ECO-FCE are:
(1) To improve European and global food security by optimising efficiency of feed use in the pig and broiler chicken industries
(2) To synergistically reduce the ecological footprint of these industries to provide sustainable eco-systems and negate climate change

These objectives are being achieved through five S&T work packages (WP’s):

WP 1
This WP will establish the relative importance of feed, genetic and gut-related factors that affect FCE and the ecological footprint of monogastrics. In order to achieve this, a state-of-the-art “eECO-FCE warehouse” will be developed through the compilation of information from the open and grey literature. This warehouse will also be used to assess and understand possible interactive effects within monogastric systems, and will ultimately be developed in WP 5 into an information tool for stakeholders.

Optimum feeding strategies to improve FCE and reduce the ecological footprint of pig and broiler chicken production systems will be identified. Feeding strategies that will be investigated include the method by which feed is offered, as well as the composition of the diet. WP2 also aims to develop novel feed additives for use in pig and broiler chicken diets which synergistically improve FCE and reduce ecological footprint. Optimum feeding strategies will be developed under a number of conditions which vary in terms of gut microflora and host genetics.

Through the identification of common gut characteristics (metagenomic profile, function and structure) in pigs and broiler chickens with good and poor FCE, our understanding of the interactions between gut microbiome and host genome will be enhanced. Using this improved understanding, strategies to improve feed use efficiency through gut microbiome manipulation will be developed.

Biomarkers that are (1) diagnostic for the contemporary utilisation and partitioning of nutrients, (2) indicative of the animal's reactivity to nutritional and management interventions to improve feed use efficiency, and (3) informative regarding the genetic potential of the animal to breed individuals with heritable beneficial feed conversion properties will be identified. Genome wide association studies and genomic selection approaches will provide links between genomic variation and variation in FCE, growth, and carcass and meat quality traits. Holistic `omics´ techniques will be applied at different levels of the genotype-phenotype axis to identify relevant molecular routes for the efficient transition of nutrients into animal tissues.

The “ECO-FCE warehouse‟ from WP 1 will be further developed as a tool (“ECO-FCE hub‟) which will allow end-users to extract information specific to their personal query. A genomic model built from SNP genotype, gene expression, metagenomic and phenotypic data will enable selective breeding of pigs and poultry to improve FCE and reduce ecological footprint. Novel models for feed intake and growth (main contributors to the calculation of FCE) will be developed to include a genetic component. Ecological calculators which encompass output of nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as of greenhouse gases, will be further developed for pig and poultry systems.

WP 6
These scientific work packages are accompanied by a comprehensive information dissemination package designed to maximise impact. The main focus is to ensure that the European and global pig and poultry industries are aware of the knowledge gained and tools developed within the project. This involves stakeholder meetings, DVD’s, presentations at conferences and press articles, as well as the website, the exhibition and the final ECO-FCE conference.
Project Results:
WP1 - Standard protocols for the collection of meat quality and animal welfare measures were applied. A major systematic review was completed during the first 12 months of the project. In the current period, partners completed the extraction of information from peer review papers and the ‘eECO FCE warehouse’ was established. This warehouse required standardisation and is currently undergoing refinement to enable meta-analysis. Horizon scanning of information published between 2014 and early 2015 was completed. A deliverable report was produced, as was a draft of a peer-review paper.

WP2 – Pig trial work showed that precision feeding was advantageous only during the finishing phase, and that liquid feeding involving enzyme addition and prolonged soaking improved performance and nutrient utilization. Nutritional conditioning of broilers (by feeding P or Met deficient diets early in life) tended to improve efficiency of P in later stages, but for Met a positive response was only observed if pigs were being fed Met limiting diets. The effects of feed composition (ingredient characteristics, technological treatment and use of additives) were evaluated in field trials, and effects of enzymes and plant extracts evaluated using in vitro digestibility systems. Feeding L-carnitine and L-arginine to young piglets to improve postnatal growth efficiency was also evaluated.

WP3 - Protocols were agreed and ethics approval obtained before research commenced. Following this, pig and chicken trials characterising differences in the gut microbiota, and in gut structure, function & immunology of animals with good and poor FCE were completed. Analysis of digesta and intestinal tissue is currently underway. Pig trials to investigate timing and delivery mechanism to optimise gut microbial profile and ensure persistence will be completed shortly, and related chicken trials completed in April 2016. Two bioactive formulations to beneficially influence chicken microbiota in-ovo were identified. Bench studies to identify optimum dosages were completed, and an in-ovo field experiment completed.

WP4 - To gain insight to the genetic architecture of FCE traits in monogastrics genome-wide association studies were conducted with 859 broiler tested for FCE and weight traits as well as 1296 pigs with breeding values and individual phenotypic records of FCE, meat quality and feeding behavior. Single-marker, multi-marker as well as entropy analyses were applied revealing genomic regions enriched for associated markers. In parallel, transcriptomic analyses were performed by microarray and RNA-Seq in order to reveal molecular pathways related to FCE.

WP5 - Data from Hermitage Maxgro pigs have been quality controlled, validated and analysed for longitudinal feed efficiency and feeding behaviour traits. A statistical model is under development that allows integration of multiple layers of data from high throughput technologies (e.g. gene expression, genomic information). Publications that identified genomic variants for feed efficiency were obtained and used in newly developed methodology (Genomic Feature models) to estimate breeding values. The database upon which the eECO FCE hub will be based is in place, and it’s evolution into an industry tool under discussion. Current ecological calculators were reviewed, and a benefit analysis is underway to establish the usefulness of a pig SNP chip to industry partners.

WP6 - A communication and dialogue structure was established, and, based on a developed dissemination strategy, a wide range of dissemination tools, such as a public website, flyers, posters, templates, factsheets, was produced. Additionally a stakeholder database as a basis for stakeholder analysis and individual dissemination activities was established. Development of the ECO-FCE exhibition concept is nearly complete, organisation of the international symposium has started, and development of a sustainability strategy is ongoing.

Potential Impact:
WP 1 - Meta-analysis of data within the eECO FCE warehouse should identify key factors promoting feed efficiency (FE) in pigs and broiler chickens. This is highly relevant and may promote adoption of new systems and practices. The systematic review highlighted a need for the organised capture and consistent reporting of animal science information. ECO FCE may make representation to peer review journals in this respect, which could mean that the eECO FCE warehouse has a legacy in changing the way trial work is reported, and enabling more holistic analysis. Horizon scanning identified feed ingredients and strategies which may offer nutritional solutions in the future.

WP 2 - The feeding regimes proposed (precision feeding and liquid feeding in pigs, and nutritional conditioning in poultry) may result in improved FE and reduced ecological footprint. Optimised use of different exogenous enzymes (and other bioactive substances) may also have synergistic effects in this respect. The magnitude of these effects may depend on the type of feed ingredient used. Finally, an increased knowledge of the use of early life nutrition to optimise nutrient efficiency in later life in pigs and poultry is important. These results will also help to reduce concerns regarding animal welfare implications of increasing litter size in pigs.

WP 3 - Results are expected to improve our understanding of the intestinal bacterial profile and gut function and their association with FE and animal welfare in pigs and chickens. The investigation of gut microbiota and the digestive tract will increase our understanding of factors affecting individual variation. Results show that specific bacterial genera and changes in gut structure and function are associated with good and poor FE. Moreover, results will provide a better understanding of the optimal timing for nutritional intervention to beneficially influence gut microbiota and function for improved FE. These data will help in the development of nutritional tools for improved gut health and function.

WP 4 - This task provides fundamental data on the genetic architecture and underlying molecular mechanisms of traits related to FE, as well as markers and genomic regions harbouring genetic variation contributing to phenotypic variation. Genomic selection and marker assisted selection for FE will be established that can be applied to routine breeding. SNPs will be listed that can be used to breed for improved FE in commercial lines of industrial partners. Integrating genomic, transcriptomic and phenotypic data will increase understanding of the common pathways and processes in key tissues which impact on FE and product quality and result in a shortlist of strategies that simultaneously optimise both.

WP 5 - Modelling of FE longitudinally was advantageous in model organisms, and the same approach being investigated in pigs may also benefit industry. Optimum measures of FE will also be proposed using Horizontal models. This will allow breeders to increase their genetic progress by choosing the best measure of FE. The genomic feature model was shown to increase the predictability of genetic merit of animals. This is expected to increase genetic progress, and thus lead to better economic and environmental sustainability in pork production. The eECO FCE hub and the ecological tool will inform stakeholders in an easily accessible manner.

WP 6 - The final result of this WP will be the achievement of the main objective of the dissemination activities (e.g. website, printed dissemination materials, press articles, international symposium, an exposition, videos, workshops). The objective is to engage with relevant stakeholders using a variety of fora to ensure maximum and lasting impact of ECO-FCE in improving FE and reducing ecological footprint of monogastrics. The stakeholders include researchers, SMEs and industry, primary producers, breeders and government, as well as the general public.
List of Websites:

Verwandte Informationen

Dokumente und Veröffentlichungen


Ronan Crossey, (Research Support Officer)
Tel.: +44 2890971165
Fax: +44 2890975182


Scientific Research
Datensatznummer: 182636 / Zuletzt geändert am: 2016-05-18
Informationsquelle: SESAM