THE science associated with
quorum sensing was at the heart of the presentation given recently by repre-sentatives of AHV Inter-national to members of the Parklands Group veterinary team in Cookstown.
This is an area of scientific research which is already leading to the development of new ways to deal with bacterial infections.
AHV, a Dutch-based company and innovative knowledge centre, is a leader in this field. It has recently established its headquarters for the UK and Ireland in Augher, County Tyrone. Research veterinarian and founder of the business, Dr Gertjan Streefland, explained to the Parklands Group that quorum sensing represents the means by which populations of bacteria communicate with each other at the individual cell level in order to jointly co-ordinate an action, for example, a disease.
He added: “Both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial populations communicate in this way.
“In the case of Gram-positive bacteria, a peptide film is produced to facilitate communication. Gram-negative populations, on the other hand, produce toxins.
“However, if the means to communicate is hindered by one or other bacterial types, they both lose the ability to cause infections within the host animal.”
Recent years have seen the research team at AHV develop a number of solutions and services, under the heading New Pharma, which specifically target the communication ability of bacterial populations in a wholly natural way. The end result has been the development of new therapies that can effectively deal with high cell counts, clinical mastitis, bacterial infections of the hoof and the myriad bacterial and protozoan infections that can impact on calves.
Dr Streefland continued: “All of this is new science, which will help to reduce the livestock farming industry’s current reliance on antibiotics.
“Our products are classified as complementary animal feed. There is no withdrawal period associated, nor is registration necessary, with their use. This is a major factor when it comes to determining their relevance and uptake on farms.”
Parklands Veterinary is the only veterinary practice in Northern Ireland having direct access to the new treatments. Adam Robinson heads-up the AHV division in the UK and Ireland. He said: “AHV was established to convert the science of quorum sensing into practical solutions for livestock farmers, who are having to deal with the impact of pathogenic bacterial infections on a regular basis.
“We know that bacteria must gather together in large groups in order to have an impact on the host animal. To make this happen they must communicate with each other through a process called ‘quorum sensing’. In essence, individual bacteria emit signal molecules so as to make this grouping process come about.
“In response, AHV’s New Pharma solutions have been developed to disrupt this communication process, thereby abolishing the impact that pathogenic bacteria could have when entering a host animal. This way, AHV is able to support the natural resistance of an animal, both preventatively and curatively.”
Mr Robinson continued: “Large numbers of farmers across Northern Ireland are now using the AHV range.
“Dairy farmers are finding that they no longer need antibiotics as a first line of attack when it comes to dealing with high cell counts, clinical mastitis, calf and young stock infections and many of the lameness-related problems that so beset dairy and livestock farming in this part of the world.”
The AHV New Pharma approach is supporting farmers with innovative solutions in an effective way; from calf to cow, with a focus on improving animal health and animal welfare. At the same time, New Pharma enables our sector to make a significant contribution to sustainability, efficiency, cost savings, environmental impact and corporate social responsibility.
The AHV New Pharma range includes the company’s Extra Bolus for the treatment of cases of elevated somatic cell counts and abnormal milk; AHV Quick Bolus for abnormal/watery milk; Metri Bolus to stimulate the release of the placenta and calf products for abnormal manure/digestive problems and respiratory tract issues.
The AHV team also emphasised the benefits of using anti-inflammatory. They have developed their own solution, branded Aspi, which is able to modulate the reaction of the animal’s immune system. It is available in drench form and complements the ‘Extra’ and ‘Quick’ boluses.
Commenting on the relevance of the AHV presentation, Parklands’ veterinarian Craig McAlister said: “The agricultural industry has to reduce its reliance on antibiotics in the future.
“These products contain no antibiotics so are ideally timed to step into the void left by regulations like red tractor, etc.
“Parklands’ vets are excited by the potential of this range of therapies, especially since there are no withhold times necessary.”