In conversation with Dr. Justin Tan, DVM, MBA, Regional Technical and Marketing Director, Asia Pacific, Interim Managing Director for India, BIOMIN Singapore Pte Ltd

Dr. Justin Tan

What are your best-known solutions/products/services?

With its powerful R&D and customer focus, BIOMIN is the world leader in providing Mycotoxin Risk Management solutions through its Mycofix® range of products, Gut Performance Management solutions and Animal Nutrition solutions for feed producers, integrators and farmers.

Which industry sectors are your customers in, and which ones are growing fastest?

In India, our focus is on the poultry, aquaculture and dairy sectors, with notable growth in each sector respectively.

What are your most recent product innovations?

Our newest research and innovation in mycotoxin-degrading recombinant enzymes or mycozymes and biological enzymes that target and deactivate specific mycotoxins, such as fumonisins (FUM), deoxynivalenol (DON), ochratoxins (OTA) and zearalenone (ZEN) is a clear success and we are looking at further development. This approach differentiates from the already well-understood concept of using simple toxin binders than can only adsorb aflatoxins.

What are the major trends and developments affecting your category and your customers, and how are you responding?

Disease outbreaks, supply chain disruptions, fluctuating prices of meat, feed/grain, day-old chicks/broodstock, and a looming recession have all had a major impact on the livestock industry of India in recent months. Despite these odds, we seamlessly continue to support our customers and have ensured that our solutions and services help them maintain their profitability in these hard times.

How does business in 2020 compared to previous years? What’s your strategy for succeeding in the current climate?

The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on our industry this year, but we have been somewhat resilient, as our customers see the added value, and depend on our solutions for better efficiency and performance, especially in times of crises like these.

Can you tell us about any of recent customer contracts and how you helped the customer meet their challenges?

We consistently help all our customers by offering our science and R&D based expertise combined with decades of experience from our specialists located around the world. We offer a full range of performance improving, tailor-made solutions to feed producers, integrators and farmers such as mycotoxin risk analyses, farm and feedmill audits, animal nutrition & feed formulation services, advice on health and vaccination programs, consultancy on feed/water safety and hygiene and gut health assessments among others. Recently, in tune with the changing times due to COVID-19, we also started providing services like virtual farm visits with veterinary diagnoses of diseases by postmortem.

What’s the latest news from your company?

We are now part of Royal DSM and currently one big family! Biomin further strengthens DSM’s expertise and reputation as a leading provider of animal health and nutrition solutions for farm productivity and sustainability, with an emphasis on emissions reduction, feed consumption efficiency, and better use of water and land. We are now very much aligned in our focus to make animal farming more sustainable from both an ecological and economical perspective.

Can you tell us about any areas where you’re currently making technical advances?

As consumer demand and regulatory scrutiny further restrict the use of antibiotics in farm animals worldwide, new understanding enabled by -omics and gene sequencing-based technologies will be crucial. The rapid advancement of -omics and gene sequencing technologies have recently made it possible to investigate a number of related questions regarding antibiotics, such as the prevalence and transmission of antibiotic resistance, as well as the mode of action of antibiotics and feed additives. 

For example, Next Generation Sequencing allows for the analysis of the genome as well as the transcriptome –the expression of all genes– at a given biological moment. This novel method allows us to study antibiotic resistance genes in greater detail than ever before. It is also equally important to understand the cellular mode of action of Antibiotic Growth Promoters (AGPs) in order to develop suitable alternatives and optimize animal nutrition. By using RNA sequencing, we have confirmed that beyond their antimicrobial effect, AGPs interact with the host tissue and modulate an anti-inflammatory response. A more sustainable method of growth promotion would, for example, modulate the same anti-inflammatory response without contributing to antibiotic resistance.

Could you please share your views on Poultry Industry for our readers?

The issues of food security and malnutrition in India are very real. A recent survey conducted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has revealed that there is an alarmingly high level of protein deficiency, not only among Indian children and adolescents, but even in adults. Being a crucial part of the protein economy, the poultry industry is well positioned to solve such a predicament, since foods like meat and eggs are the best complete sources of protein. More significantly, there is a strong correlation between the consumption of eggs and better nutritional status in most states, particularly among younger children. Eggs are known to be more affordable and nutritious source of protein and are considered an important part of a healthy, sustainable and stable diet especially in the growing years. 

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