Canada will spend $101,000 in research funds to help efforts in finding a substitute for antibiotics in livestock feed, according to a news release from the Canadian government. Parliament member Kelly Block, on behalf of Canada Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, said this week that the investment will help deliver benefits to livestock producers and consumers.

This investment will help Prairie Plant Systems develop new technologies that have the potential to replace antibiotics in animal feed using health-boosting plant products like mustard seeds. The goal is to develop feed supplements that would stimulate an animal's own immune system to resist infection.

Prairie Plant Systems, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, incorporates new plant biotechnologies into deliverable plant-based systems for agricultural and environmental market applications, according to the firm’s website.

"This is a good example of how government and industry can partner to harness research and help industry fill a need in the marketplace," said Block. "This is the kind of innovation that's keeping Canada's agricultural sector strong and sustainable."

"This is the first step in finding alternatives to the use of antibiotics in animal feed," said Brent Zettl, CEO of Prairie Plant Systems. "The long-term goal of our research can have benefits for farmers and consumers."

Researchers have discovered that the use of antibiotics in livestock is beneficial partly because of their anti-inflammatory properties, according to the Canadian government’s news release. The development of new feed supplements has the potential to improve herd health while reducing losses and costs. This can improve the bottom line of livestock and poultry producers and also lead to other opportunities for farmers to diversify crops and capture new niche markets.

This project is funded under Canada’s Agricultural Innovation Program which supports the development of innovative products, technologies, and processes for the country’s agricultural sector.