ILVO Newsletter March 2016

Hot off the press

Restraining systems for cattle slaughtered without stunning

onverdoofd slachten runderenSlaughter without stunning, required for production of halal and kosher meat, employs two main methods to restrain the animals, but they both require skill from the slaughter plant personnel. That can be concluded from a European study done in response to questions about the animal friendliness of rotating systems. According to the researchers, training and good-practice guidelines can help decrease welfare problems during slaughter without stunning.

Block sale of fish as an alternative sales technique – a pilot study

visdirectplusFish is currently sold per boat landing, not per species. Selling fish “in block” (i.e., a block of fish from different landings but with identical quality and presentation) is possible but not easy, according to results from the VisDirectPlus project, a collaboration between ILVO and the Flemish Fish Auction. Sorting into products with similar quality (blocks) is complex because quality depends on the area of origin, season, fishing technique used and management of the catch aboard the vessel.

Housing systems for laying hens after the ban on battery cages: egg farmers’ opinion

eggsWhat is the opinion of Flemish egg farmers about their hen housing systems after the ban on battery cages? How did they experience the transition? How do they judge the health and welfare of their hens? ILVO scientists designed a survey and distributed it to egg farmers.


Imodium for pigs? Optimizing treatment of intenstinal brachyspiral infections in pigs

Prevention and treatment of diarrhea in pigs without using antibiotics was the aim of a project about control of Brachyspira infections. In vitro and in vivo tests revealed two promising paths for alternative control of infections. First, adjusting the feed formulation may suppress infection, for example by adding mid-long chain fatty acids and essential oil components. Second, by acidifying the large intestine and stomach barrier, the occurrence of clinical lesions could be prevented and that a stable microflora is essential for resistance to Brachyspira infections.

Animal welfare label for milk? Marketing animal-friendly milk according to consumer type

melkwelConsumers vary in the amount of importance they attach to animal welfare while milk is being produced, thus their willingness to pay extra for such milk also varies, according to a large-scale survey performed by ILVO researchers



Ready, set, go!

Vegetables and maize on erosion sensitive soils

GomerosIn the next 4 years, ILVO, PCG and Inagro will focus on soil erosion control measures to tackle erosion at the source while still maintaining crop yields. The aim is to support farmers with vegetables and maize on fields with large erosion risks. The practicality of a number of recent mandatory measures for these fields has been questioned.

Chicken vaccines. Immunizing chickens against Campylobacter infections

campimmunFewer cases of food poisoning by vaccinating broilers against Campylobacter? That is the goal of this recently-started project called CAMPIMUNN. Researchers are looking for an inexpensive active or passive immunization technique and they are studying how these techniques influence the Campylobacter present in the chicken’s intestines.


Squashing Salmonella in pigs? Vaccination of pigs against Salmonella Typhimurium under practical conditions

pigCan Salmonella infection in pigs be controlled using a vaccine? That is the research question in the new project SUSALVAC. The effectiveness of the vaccine and the possible implementation in a national control program are being studied. The final goal is to produce meat pigs with only a negligible risk for infecting people with Salmonella Typhimurium.

How does food help to make us healthy and keep us that way? European networking stimulates research on the influence of food on our health.

JPILocal research on the interaction between food and health is very important, but such research should be integrated and applied on the European level. That’s why ILVO is a partner in Europe’s Joint Programming Initiative ‘A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life’. This initiative is currently running a second action. The most important aim is harmonization and sustainability of research on food and health in the different EU Member States.

Ecological and genetic basis for sustainable fishery for the Atlantic seabob shrimp Xiphopenaeus kroyeri in Suriname, South America

seabobDo Guyana, French-Guiana and Suriname fish the same seabob stock? How important are mangroves as nursery and feeding grounds for seabob shrimp? Answers to these questions are essential for sustainable management of seabob shrimp stocks in this region. That is why a doctoral study was started to investigate the population structure and life cycle of seabob shrimp based on both in situ research and advanced lab analyses.

Clean soil? an IPM Strategy for soil problems in greenhouse lettuce

lettuceGathering knowledge to avoid frequent chemical soil disinfestation is the objective of a project set up by ILVO, Ghent University, PCG, Inagro and PSKW. The ultimate goal is a website and app that can be consulted by growers looking for the best IPM strategy for their soil.



Functional biodiversity in a changing sedimentary environment: Implications for biogeochemistry and food webs in a managerial setting.

Face itHuman activities in the North Sea are altering the seabed by introducing hard substrates (e.g. windmills) and making the sediment texture finer. It is still unclear which impact those sedimentological changes have on the coastal ecosystem. The effect of finer sediments and more hard substrates on the functioning of the bottom ecosystem (biogeochemistry and food web) will be investigated by experts at UGent, KBIN, ULg and ILVO. ILVO will test and fine-tune functional indicators to evaluate the changes caused by those pressures in relation to the EU maritime nature objectives.

The comeback of fodder beet? A crop with a future in a more sustainable cattle husbandry

fodder beetThe cultivation of fodder beet as third crop besides grass and corn (maize) is on the rise. ILVO and the Ghent University College are investigating the possibilities to re-introduce fodder beet in the Flemish agricultural practice in terms of mechanics, preservation technology, feeding value and economics.


Custom-made processed digestate

DIMAWith the DIMA project, VLACO and ILVO want to bring digestate producers and potential customers closer together. New markets are the agricultural and public sector and companies manufacturing fertilizer, soil improvers and plant substrates. The aim: to make digestate more valuable for potential customers.

LNG, the fuel alternative for diesel in the fishery industry

fisheryNatural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel. Combined with its lower price tag, it is seen worldwide as the best alternative for the classic fossil fuels such as diesel. Because beam trawlers use so much fuel, ILVO is investigating the possibility of LNG as a fuel for the Belgian fishery fleet. The high fuel consumption of the beam trawlers have negative consequences for the economic viability of the fishing industry as well as for the environment.

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