ILVO Newsletter October 2014

Autumn has arrived: time to gather the fruits of a scientifically productive summer. A toxin-free sugar syrup for honey bees, more efficient farm management, better animal welfare, innovative techniques in food production and plant breeding, and a brand-new, state-of-the-art dairy barn for outstanding cattle research. This is promising!

New Research Projects

charcuterieCan the quality of processed meat products be judged objectively?
Faster, better and more efficient product development and projection of consumer appreciation for a wide range of meat products.

ILVO will develop an objective system for evaluating meat products using a combination of analysis and modelling of the sensory and analytical characteristics of traditional and innovative meat products. This system will ultimately improve and strengthen the image of Belgian meat products.

sierbomen als compacte cultivarsGood things come in small packages. Can in vitro breeding methods generate the compact woody ornamentals that consumers demand?
Compact and attractive pot plants are needed for ornamental growers to stay competitive on the national and international market. ILVO will test three alternative in vitro techniques on selected woody ornamentals with the goal of generating compact cultivars.

Recent Results

bijenSafe food for honeybees. Sugary sweet but not necessarily safe: Toxicity and production of HMF in sugar syrup fed to honeybees
After harvesting honey, beekeepers often feed their honeybees with sugar syrup as compensation for the honey which was gathered as food reserve for the winter. Under certain storage conditions toxic compounds like hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) could be formed, with negative effects on honeybees. Several bee experts examined the cause of HMF formation and its acute and chronic effects on honeybees.

kippen op transportEvaluating the chicken’s last ride. Problems and solutions for broiler chicken transport.
What are the issues with broiler chicken transport and how can the welfare of broilers be measured? The development of a practical method to evaluate broiler chicken welfare, identification of welfare constrains during transport, and possible adaptations to the transport process with a cost-benefit analysis are all part of the WELLTRANS project.

varkenMacho meat. Does consumer acceptance of pork from non-surgically-castrated male pigs differ across national boundaries?
Non-anesthetised surgical castration of male piglets in Europe will end in 2018. ILVO was involved in a European study to determine to which degree consumers accept pork with boar taint,by performing harmonised consumer tests in five EU and two non-EU countries. The project also elucidated which factors besides taste influence consumer attitudes about the alternatives to surgical castration. This international study resulted in preference maps of consumer tolerance dependent on the level of boar taint.

melkkenOptimisation of the management on dairy cattle farms by efficient use of performance indicators
As dairy farms grow in size, specific performance indicators can help the farmers keep an overview of the farm performance and take appropriate management actions when necessary. This is the conclusion of an ADLO research consortium that studied which performance indicators seem most important for dairy farm management. The consortium has published a step-by-step guide to calculating the basic indicators and their threshold values. This user-friendly booklet allows dairy farmers to quickly measure and interpret their results and make the appropriate management decisions. 

AramisRisky but not impossible. Risk and risk management in agriculture and horticulture: 10 lessons learned.
What are the sources of risk in agriculture and horticulture? Can we find any clues about how to control these risks? What is the role of risk management in sustainable farm management?

stengellesies Cylindrocladium buxicolaIntegrated Pest Management of Cylindrocladium buxicola in Buxus.
Controlling a fungal disease via increased knowledge of its genetic diversity and epidemiology and through study of host resistance and chemical treatment options.

kuikensFrom alpha to omega(-3)? Do omega-3 fatty acids transferred from hen to egg affect hatchability, chick quality and performance until slaughter age?
The results are in. ILVO has studied whether broilers’ performance and health can be improved from egg onwards by feeding the breeding hens an enriched diet.