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Plants and their extracts and other natural alternatives to antimicrobials in feeds
EC contribution
: € 2.922.713
: 60 months
Starting date
: 01/03/2004
Funding scheme
: Specific Targeted Research Project
: ruminants, plants, health, feed additives
Contract/Grant agreement number
: FOOD-CT-2004-5064877
Project web-site


The EU banned growth-promoting antibiotics in 2006, and livestock producers need alternative ways of obtaining similar production benefits to maintain profitability and competitiveness against overseas producers. Improving the health and safety of animal products reaching the consumer, including those resulting from organic farming, is also important.

REPLACE is examining plants, plant extracts and other natural materials as safe alternatives to feed antimicrobials. The materials will be derived from 500 samples of plant materials collected as possible feed additives for ruminants [FP5 project, Rumen-up, QLK5-CT-2001-00992], plus some additional natural materials likely to be useful in non-ruminants. Rumen-up samples, for which a large data set of background information and screening success now exists, will be tested for properties not screened in FP5: their possible impact on human and animal health (E. coli, parasites), food quality (fatty acids) and efficient use of natural resources (increased forage use by ruminants). Researchers on pigs, poultry and fish, where the impact of antibiotic withdrawal is greatest, will join the consortium. The priorities in these species overlap with ruminants, although the precise aims and pathogen species are different. After identifying the most promising candidates for each target, a small number of samples will be taken to animal trials. The project will link fragmented research carried out with different animal species across Europe and provide a platform, via consultation with industry, farmers' and consumers' organisations, veterinarians, botanists, agronomists and economists, for the rational production of a new generation of natural feed additives.

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