A NEW growth promotant currently being trialed in chickens could reduce production costs for WA beef farmers.
The compound ST810 ñ traditionally used in asthma medication in the US ñ is showing promising results in producing lean meat and less fat in chickens.
Perth-based biotechnology company Stirling Products Limited (ASX:STI) initiated the study to measure the effects of ST810 and is planning to complete more trial work on both sheep and cattle over the next two years.
Stirling Products managing director Doctor Calvin London said ST810 preliminary results showed the compound could increase lean meat yield in cattle but further tests were needed to determine weight gain and feed conversion calculations.
He said chickens with nearly 30 per cent less fat had been produced in earlier trials involving ST810.
ìThe results are significant because they confirm our belief that this product will have major benefits for both consumers and producers in producing animals with more lean muscle and less fat in a more efficient and environmentally sound way,î Dr London said.
He said different options were being explored for the administration of the compound with pelleted feed rations used currently.
Dr London said he understood the need for other alternatives as not all Australian producers used feedlots.
Research was being done into depositing the compound into the gut and providing a slow release of ST810 into the animalís system.
This would be particularly useful in grass fed animals such as pastoral cattle by allowing increases in lean meat gain.
Dr London said the study was completed at Massey University in New Zealand and followed similar results produced in earlier pig trials.
He said other results from the trial found ST810 increased muscle or lean meat by nearly 11pc and improved feed efficiency and carcass recovery by 5pc.
"ST810 is a beta agonist growth promoter and fine-tunes the metabolism in animals to produce more lean muscle and less fat in a range of animal species," Dr London said.
"It is considered a viable alternative to the use of antibiotics and steroids, which are being banned in many countries because of disease resistance and human health concerns,î he said.
ìThose who may view this product as unsafe, to get the human asthma dose equivalent, you would need to eat 27 kilograms of chicken livers three times a day or 127 kilograms of chicken breasts three times a day.î
Dr London said consumers might blacklist ST810 under the same cloud as growth promotants but it was not an antibiotic or anabolic steroid.
He said the general public needed to be educated on the necessity of innovation in agriculture to feed the increasing population in a safe, healthy and environmentally friendly way, which involved the use of compounds such as ST810.
Dr London said Perth-based company Stirling Products was proud to be at the forefront of commercialising patented animal growth promoters that turned fat into protein and improved feed efficiencies in poultry, sheep, pigs, cattle and potentially fish.
He said products such as ST810 would play a major role in reducing the global use of antibiotics and steroids for animal growth promotion.