Anco in top 5 startups in animal nutrition

Anco was named as one of the top 5 startups in Animal Nutrition, among 1457 globally analyzed startups.

Anco discovered by StartUs Insights

The innovation intelligence company StartUs Insights analyzed 1457 startups and scaleups globally to compose a global startup heat map on the animal nutrition sector. The analysis was data-driven using the big data and artificial intelligence powered by the discovery platform developed by StartUs Insights.

Anco was named as one of the 5 food tech startups in animal nutrition that were handpicked by StartUs Insights as a result of their analysis.  The innovation that Anco contributed to the global animal nutrition industry is the gut agility activator product line Anco FIT.

Anco Animal Nutrition Competence is an Austrian startup and was founded in late 2015. The company went operational in 2016 and rapidly expanded its sales in the global animal feed industry. In 2019 the company was awarded the Austrian Born Global Champion prize, which recognized Anco’s success in rapid global expansion.

Today the company is selling Anco FIT gut agility activators in more than 35 countries around the world, helping livestock producers to improve the adaptive capacity and resilience of their farm animals for more competitive and more resilient sustainable livestock production.


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Animal welfare – why it is a top priority to farmers

When it comes to animal welfare consumers are most concerned about animal health according to recent studies, but so are farmers. The long-term success of farming relies on healthy animals. On National Farmers’day let’s not forget, behind every healthy animal is a strong farmer.

Caring for animals is at the heart of livestock farming

The problem is people often have very different perceptions of what animal welfare means. Studies  have shown that in the members of the public this is influenced by the situation in question, the context of the animal and personal characteristics.

Most farmers choose farming as a career, because they care deeply about animals. On top of that the farm’s economic success depends on healthy animals. For those reasons, farmers in collaboration with their veterinarians and nutritionists take many measures to make sure their animals are happy, comfortable and above all healthy.

Modern farms also employ AI assisted digital tools and sensors that pretty much allow them to monitor their animals 24/7 very closely and individually on top of their daily routine check-ups.

animal welfare . national farmersday 2021

Providing continuous feedback, based on real-time data, this enables the farmer to make better and more timely management decisions to address health needs and minimize health issues for his/her animals in care.

With accurate and real-time data at their fingertips, farmers can also be more selective with supplies and resources and as a result reduce emissions and environmental impact.

What is driving consumer viewpoints and choices?

A 2021 study by the international food and information council on consumer viewpoints and purchasing behaviors regarding animal and plant protein revealed that despite capturing widespread interest, animal welfare and environmental sustainability are the least prioritized purchase drivers.

What is driving purchasing decisions in consumers of protein is firstly taste, then price, followed by type of protein and healthfulness.

When asked about the importance of food labels, top influences for animal protein decisions were “no antibiotics” (23%), “natural” (23%) and “no added hormones” (22%). These labels ranked much higher compared to “free range” (11%) or “cage free” (11%).

In the UK a study carried out by Vigors et al (2021) with a sample of members of the public representative of the UK population indicated that participants considered animal welfare to be most positive when both health issues are minimised and natural behaviours are promoted.

However, animal health had the greatest effect on participants’ judgements, explaining more of the variance in their assessments of animal welfare than any other factor. The researchers concluded that perspectives of animal welfare are more nuanced than previously thought, influenced by the context of the animal, the aspect of welfare in question and personal characteristics.

Relevant articles

Happy or healthy? How members of the public prioritise farm animal health and natural behaviours, 

Plant and Animal Protein Choices: Consumer Viewpoints and Purchasing Behaviors 2021 

Behind every healthy animal is a strong farmer

Take control of how your pigs respond to heat

The impact of high temperatures on pig production will become more important over the next decades. Therefore, it matters how your pigs respond to heat and the ability to control the response can make a difference. What are you doing to take control?

How do grow-finishing pigs respond to rising temperatures?

Due to climate change pigs will become exposed to ambient temperatures above their thermal comfort zone more often and for longer periods. High ambient temperatures strongly affect physiology behaviour and metabolic adaptations that have a negative effect on growth performance of growing pigs. Economic losses for the US pork industry due to heat stress have been estimated at $300 million a year, with $200 million associated with grow-finish production losses.

Compared to other species of farm animals, pigs are more sensitive to high environmental temperatures, because they cannot sweat and find it more difficult to pant. The best indicators for assessing heat stress of finishing pigs are: increased respiration rate and water to feed ratio, followed by reduced feed intake, and increased rectal temperature. In heavier pigs, signs of heat stress are noticed at lower temperatures, also pigs with modern genetics are more susceptible to heat stress.

The primary consequence of heat stress is that animals reduce feed intake progressively with increased temperature, which will reduce performance.  A meta-analysis carried out by da Fonseca de Oliveira et al (2018) reported that high ambient temperatures reduced the values of average daily gain (654 vs 596 g/d) and feed intake (2.14 vs 1.88 kg/d) when compared with the thermoneutral group.  Others reported that whereas each degree increase in ambient temperature between 24 and 30 °C would induce a feed intake decrease of 50 g/day in pigs of 60 kg body weight, the corresponding decrease would average 80 g/day in pigs of 90 kg body weight.

However, increased ambient temperatures have also shown to have negative effects on gut function and gut integrity in growing-finishing pigs, which lead to increased levels of endotoxins in blood, as well as altered inflammation profiles. Other research has demonstrated that oxidative stress plays a role in compromising intestinal barrier integrity in heat-stressed pigs.

Building resilience to rising temperatures in pigs

Continued selection for greater performance in the absence of consideration for heat tolerance will result in greater susceptibility to heat stress. Not surprisingly, several research groups across the world are trying to find ways for enhancing the resilience of livestock to climatic variability and climate change. Resilience can arise due to lower sensitivity or better adaptability to a challenge.

Scientists are beginning to discover ways to influence the adaptive capacity of farm animals to mitigate the effects of heat stress and its negative consequences for animal welfare and farm profitability in response to rising temperatures. Identifying relevant biomarkers in animals capable of maintaining high levels of productivity during heat stress will also help to breed for climate resilient animals. The Nrf2-KEAP 1 pathway, appears to be particularly promising, as a regulatory mechanism to explore further at the cellular level, because of its dual influence on the antioxidative and anti-inflammatory response of animals.

Nutritional support to take the sting out of heat

Nutritional interventions supporting the efficiency of adaptive mechanisms represent a practical, adaptable and cost-effective strategy to mitigate the negative effects of heat stress and improve animal productivity.

Gut agility activators are feed supplements that were specifically formulated to enhance the resilience of animals, by supporting cellular defense systems and enabling animals to adapt with more efficient responses to stressors including rising temperatures thus mitigating the impact on performance.

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Impacts on performance of growing-finishing pigs under heat stress conditions: a meta-analysis (2018) 

Diurnal heat stress reduces pig intestinal integrity and increases endotoxin translocation 


How do your cows respond to mycotoxins?

Cows are more resilient to the impact of mycotoxins such as DON, because the rumen microflora can degrade DON to a non-toxic form. However, there are certain situations where even cows can become quite vulnerable to the effects of mycotoxins. It is important to know which ones they are and what you can do to have more control over the response in cows.

How do cows respond to the DON mycotoxin?

The first line of defense to DON is the rumen microflora. Rumen microbes effectively transform DON into non-toxic metabolites.

However, the detoxification capacity for DON by rumen bacteria can be compromised in high producing dairy cows, which are fed greater amounts of concentrates and where feed passage rate is high. Both conditions will affect rumen pH and the time available for rumen microbes to degrade DON into non-toxic metabolites.

DON that is not transformed into its non-toxic metabolites will increase the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) at the cellular level, lead to oxidative stress, which eventually can also increase inflammatory responses in the cow. This again can affect milk quality and milk yields as well as the cows health. It has been demonstrated that dairy cows fed diets contaminated with DON, produce lower milk yields, decreased milk fat and have increased milk somatic cell counts. Furthermore they are also more likely to experience metabolic disorders in the transition period.

Factors that can exacerbate a negative response to DON

Other stressors can exacerbate the impact DON in diets can have on cows, as they will cause the same kind of stress reactions on the cellular level. In combination the effects on milk production and health will then likely be higher. These stressors include:

  • Transition period status
  • High milk yields
  • High concentrate diets
  • High ambient temperatures/ summer heat

Building resilience to mycotoxins in dairy cows

The above learnings highlight, that helping cows to better deal with stressors such as high productivity, transition period, high ambient temperatures and high concentrate diets, will ultimately reduce the vulnerability to the effects from mycotoxins such as DON.

Therefore, feeding for an optimum rumen pH and rumen microflora is the first step to a higher resilience to DON in dairy cows. Good management practices that help cows ease through the transition period and keep them cool during hot summer months, will further reduce the vulnerability of cows to the potential impact of DON on health and performance.

Nutritional support to disarm mycotoxins

Traditionally, feed additives have been developed to attack mycotoxins in the animal’s digestive tract directly to counteract harmful effects from mycotoxins in the animal. However, both mycotoxin binders and mycotoxin deactivators have their limitations. It is well known that adsorption is not an effective strategy for most mycotoxins. Only certain bentonites work well with aflatoxins and some yeast cell wall components have been proven to bind zearalenone, based on specific structural fits. For other types of mycotoxins, particularly DON, binding strategies do not work effectively.

A more cost-effective strategy to counteract mycotoxins focuses on disarming mycotoxins by supporting the animal’s resistance to the harmful effects of mycotoxins. This strategy empowers animals to respond more efficiently to DON by reducing the extent of the stress reactions generally seen in response to them. For example, adding plant extracts to the diet that are known to upregulate adaptive mechanisms for the antioxidative defense of the animal and downregulate inflammatory responses, as well as maintain efficient rumen fermentation can support a more favourable response to nutritional challenges such as mycotoxins.

Relevant articles

Aflatoxins: Did you know that in high yielding dairy cows the carry-over rate into milk is greater?

How to support dairy cows in their defense against DON

Effects of oxidative stress in response to mycotoxins in dairy cows