New microbial detection tools for pet food ingredients

Ancera, a supply chain intelligence company, released two new microbial detection tools designed to identify and enumerate Clostridium perfringens and Total Viable Bacteria (TVB) in poultry, including that used in pet food.

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Adapted from a press release:

Ancera, a supply chain intelligence company, released two new microbial detection tools designed to identify and enumerate Clostridium perfringens and Total Viable Bacteria (TVB) in poultry, including that used in pet food. The tools may also be applicable to pet food production.

“There’s a wide diversity of pet food products, all of which undergo some level of processing,” Arjun Ganesan, CEO of Ancera told Petfood Industry. “TVB is an assay for indicator organisms that can provide an assessment of process control and sanitation and can be used to manage their safety and quality assurance programs.”

Ancera’s assays address critical challenges within the poultry industry, spanning both live operations and processing, in order to help companies increase productivity, food safety, and interventional efficacy.

“PIPER is the only platform that combines molecular and classical microbiology capabilities with an operationally relevant time-to-result,” Ganesan said in a press release. “The Clostridium and TVB assays will double the number of novel assays on the PIPER platform. Retail customers see Clostridium perfringens as a productivity and animal welfare concern and our technology can help innovative poultry companies take action and gain market share. TVB has significant implications on reducing microbial loads, susceptibility, and sanitation. We are excited to share these assays with trial partners as we develop the data science models and software for full commercialization.”

Ancera’s Clostridium assay specifically enumerates and monitors Clostridium perfringens, the causative agent of necrotic enteritis (NE) in poultry, providing the industry a valuable new tool to manage NE risk. The assay will help integrators to determine and track Clostridium load in their system, providing additional visibility of impact on key production metrics and overall animal health. The monitoring technique also has implications for assessing intervention effectiveness in certain animal welfare programs. When combined with Ancera’s Coccidia System Monitoring (CSM) product and advanced analytical capabilities, the combination of tracking Coccidia oocysts and Clostridium load in near real-time provides comprehensive insight into the effects of gut health on production. 

Ancera’s pen trials, conducted with Ozark Avian Research, have demonstrated a correlation between the number of Clostridium perfringens cells shed in feces with lesion scores as well as body weight gain in the birds. The effect of Clostridium on the poultry industry, even when the birds may not show clinical symptoms can be significant, leading to inefficient feed utilization, reduced weight gain, decline in feed conversion ratio, and increased number of condemnations at processing. The clinical disease can cause mass fatalities, resulting in economic and welfare risks. According to The National Library of Medicine, Clostridium contributes to a US$6 billion revenue loss for the global poultry industry. Ancera's new assay provides a reliable and rapid detection method for Clostridium bacteria across flocks, so integrators can make timely, impactful decisions.

Ancera has also introduced a Total Viable Bacteria (TVB) assay, a non-enrichment, microbial quantitation assay focused on same-shift process improvement and quality control at the plant. This tool provides quantifiable microbial information enabling integrators to understand whether their processes are working to reduce microbial load. Once fully commercialized, the technology will produce results within a single working shift, unlocking real-time trend analysis and decision-making for improved compliance and sanitation. This represents a significant decrease from traditional 48-72 hour turnaround times, decreasing the risk of compliance and recall risk.

The two new assays join Ancera’s portfolio of diagnostic tools, which feature in Ancera’s monitoring products- Salmonella System Monitoring and Coccidia monitoring, comprising the first digital command center for poultry. The new assays will be made available in 2024 to a limited set of trial customers to generate user feedback and accelerate a fully commercialized software product. 

To lead the rollout of these two new innovative diagnostics tools and the new capabilities of Ancera’s Command Center platform, Ancera has hired Troy Hatlevig as its VP of product. Troy’s supply chain and product development expertise will enable Ancera to deliver the tools customers need to achieve new levels of operational excellence. Hatlevig, formerly the VP of Supply Chain Product for Wayfair, joined the company in November of 2023 and is focused on developing the next set of innovative products in high demand by the industry.

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