The Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO) is a scientific institute of the Flemish Government and belongs to the Policy Domain 'Agriculture and Fisheries'. The research activities of this multidisciplinary institute are organized in four Units: Animal, Social Sciences, Plant, Technology and Food.
ILVO’s mission consists of performing and coordinating policy-supporting scientific research and the associated public service in view of a sustainable agriculture and fishery in an economic, ecological and social perspective. ILVO builds up the knowledge necessary for the improvement of products and production methods, for monitoring and safeguarding the quality and safety of end products, and for improvement of the policy instruments as a basis for the development of the sector and the agricultural policy.
Animal Sciences Unit
In the research areas “Functional Animal Nutrition” and “Animal Husbandry and Welfare”, applied scientific research is carried out in cattle, pig and poultry husbandry. Research in nutrition physiology is focused to fine-tune the supply of nutrients with the requirements of the animal. In close relation with the latter, efforts are done to reduce the excretion of minerals into the environment. Functional animal nutrition sensu stricto aims to improve not only animal health but also to increase the health value of animal products for the consumer. To increase social acceptability of livestock production, research also focuses on the development of methods and strategies to evaluate and improve animal welfare. Service is also provided by the Reference lab for research in animal nutrition and the nutritional value of animal products. The research program focused on fisheries concerns the fields of fishery biology, aquaculture and restocking, the technical aspects of fishing and the quality of the marine habitat and its natural resources.
- Functional animal nutrition to incorporate poly-unsaturated fatty acids and natural anti-oxydants in poultry products
- Evolution of the lean meat/fat accretion in fattening pigs
- Effect of feed additives and byproducts on feed utilization (nutrient excretion), animal performances and health of pigs
- Feeding strategies to reduce the nitrogen and phosphorus excretion into the environment by laying dairy cattle, hens, broilers and pigs
- Reduction of the ammonia emission from pig husbandry by dietary means
- Validation of potentially successful fiber sources as energy intake restrictors for ad libitum fed pregnant sows in group housing conditions
- Functional animal nutrition directed to animal physiology as well as to products with a higher health value for the consumer
- Evaluation of residue in consumption eggs and poultry meat
Technology and Food Unit
The activities of this unit are very diverse and can be described as research and consultancy in the following research domains: Agricultural Engineering, Chemical and Biological Food Safety, Product Quality and Innovation. It is the latter research domain that will actively participate in the Cost Action.
This group has a long-standing expertise in GMO research (genetically modified organisms), including the construction of transgenic plants as well as the characterization and detection of GMOs in plants and plant-derived materials. Last years, the GMO research was focused mainly on development and optimization of strategies and methodologies for the control and analysis of GMOs. The GMO research is oriented towards the sustainable development and implementation of the European regulations concerning the use of GMOs in agriculture, food and feed applications. More recently, the development of comprehensive tools and methodologies that are to be embedded in decision-support systems aimed at enabling co-existence between GM and non GM (conventional and organic) crops, got a lot of attention. In the accredited lab, qualitative and quantitative GMO analysis in food, feed and plant material and seed of the most important biotech crops s is performed. This group is also using its expertise to support the development of new guidelines for the quantification of botanic impurities in feed.
In addition, research aimed at developing practical and economical plant-based platforms for the production of different high-value proteins (Molecular Farming) is carried out. One innovative aspect that is studied in detail, relevant for the “Feed for health” COST action, is the use of transgenic seeds as a feed additive to realize passive immunization against important animal pathogens (for details see xpertise Bart Van Droogenbroeck).
- Co-existence and traceability of GMO and non-GMO supply chains
- Development of methods for detection, identification and quantification of GMOs in agricultural products
- Integrated approaches for screening and identification of GMOs (including non-approved GMOs)
- Sustainable introduction of GMOs in European agriculture systems.
Scientist involved in COST Action Feed for Health: Bart van Droogenbroeck