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Animal Health

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Animal Health
Monday, March 6, 2017 3:47:02 PM
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Polypropylene panels are 49% more efficient than concrete panels in disinfecting intestinal bacteria


Rotecna, S.A.



Some of the major future challenges facing the pig -- farming sector are food safety, reducing environmental impact, biosafety and reducing the use of antibiotics. It is becoming more and more important to produce healthy pork. Protecting the health of the animals is therefore one of the key factors used by farmers to face this challenge.

One aspect that contributes to improving animal health is the materials used inside the farms. This comparative study will demonstrate that polypropylene panels have a much lower residual microbial load than concrete panels after they have been washed and disinfected.

Previously -- existing background information on washing and disinfecting finishing facilities is not very positive. Very little importance was usually attached to this aspect. However, farmers now know that this is a key factor in maintaining excellent sanitary conditions on their premises. They are aware that the buildings or facilities themselves may cause recurrent diseases, which may, in the long term, generate a continuous deterioration in the health and performance of the animals.


What are known as "sick buildings" constantly expose the animals to pathogens and toxins that lead to cytosines being released by their immune systems. It has been demonstrated that some of the mostimportant cytosines released have growth -- inhibiting properties, and  for this reason it is of the utmost importance to maintain high standards of hygiene in the facilities, to prevent diseases that prevent the optimal growth of fattened pigs.

Thus, apart from thorough cleaning and disinfection of the buildings, it is necessary to obtain information about the types of materials used inside the farms, since each material has different properties and they therefore have different results in terms of effectiveness in cleaning and disinfecting.

With this objective in mind, a comparative study was conducted on the properties of concrete and polypropylene surfaces. This allowed us to obtain very relevant information in order to achieve higher standards of cleanliness and disinfection and accordingly, an improved level of sanitation.




A comparative study was conducted on polypropylene and concrete panels in 12 facilities containing 1,000 pigs - 6 made of concrete and 6 made of polypropylene - and the panels had identical characteristics. verifying the dimensions, pens and corridor in the buildings and the type of floor (compact/slatted).

The samples for the analysis of total aerobic microorganisms and enterobacteriaceae present in the panels were collected with sterilised disposable wipes provided by the food management and safety consultant Laboratorio Convet S.L.

After cleaning and disinfecting the farm and allowing one day at least for the building to dry, we located an area in which to take samples, at a point on the panels separating the pens to which the animals had direct access. The size of the analysed surface was 1 m². The samples were taken by rubbing the entire surface with the wipes.

Given that there are two variables that have a direct effect on the end results, several samples were taken in different farms in order to obtain sampling under different conditions of temperature and humidity.




The results obtained in the farms where the cleaning tests were conducted showed that the initial load for the enterobacteriaceae count was 56% lower on the polypropylene surfaces compared to the concrete ones, with the disinfectant agent achieving an efficacy of over 49% on the polypropylene surfaces (Table 1).



Table 1:  Graph showing the enterobacteriaceae load  (log cfu/m2) of the surface before and after disinfection


It is concluded that polypropylene surfaces present a lower residual microbial load than concrete surfaces in addition to a much higher efficacy than concrete surfaces in disinfection treatments.

Enterobacteriaceae are gram -- negative bacteria with more than 30 genera and 100 different species. They form part of the gut microbiota and are responsible for common but harmful diseases such as E. Coli or Salmonella.

Economic losses arising from poor sanitary conditions are very difficult to estimate or assess but farmers are quite clear that low sanitation levels is the main enemy they must fight in order to reduce production losses or the potential implications of certain diseases on foreign trade.




The data obtained in the comparative study show that the smooth, non -- porous surface of polypropylene panels facilitate cleaning and disinfection tasks as opposed to concrete and it has been demonstrated that they offer major  benefits in terms of animal health and welfare resulting from the efficacy in disinfecting the polypropylene surfaces.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) considers that one of the basic principles of animal welfare is the relationship between the health of the animals and their well -- being. Hygiene and disease -- prevention are factors that must be considered due to the influence they have on animal health. Principle set out in the Terrestrial Animal Health Code (2016): http://www.oie.int/es/normas-internacionales/codigo-terrestre/acceso-en-linea/

Faced with a scenario in which reducing antibiotics and food safety are, and will continue to be, essential requisites to ensure healthy pork production, preventing disease among animals is of primordial importance due to the need to obtain safe food for consumers. This study has demonstrated that the building materials used in farms play a major role in preventing disease.

After analysing all the factors involved in evaluating concrete and polypropylene surfaces, we can conclude that pen separator panels made of polypropylene have proved to be an extremely efficient tool in preventing disease.



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Article made possible through the contribution of Rotecna, S.A.

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