Introducing Aqualution

By Forum Bioscience - Aqualution® is a groundbreaking innovation for the poultry industry, with major benefits for the environment, animal welfare, food safety and the producer's bottom line.
calendar icon 21 November 2005
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Introducing Aqualution - By Forum Bioscience - Aqualution® is a groundbreaking innovation for the poultry industry, with major benefits for the environment, animal welfare, food safety and the producer's bottom line.

It's a novel, safe biocide, which provides clean drinking water at the point of consumption. It's completely harmless to plants and animals but is lethal to simple organisms such as bacteria, fungi and viruses.

Quick facts

  • To date, there have been 56 on-farm installations of the Aqualution system
  • 30 million birds have been reared using Aqualution treated water
  • Aqualution is fully compliant with Biocidal Products Directive EU 98/8
  • Meets the British Disinfectant Standard against a wide range of problem pathogens, including Campylobacter, Pseudomonas and E. coli
  • Far superior efficacy compared with conventional biocides
  • Aqualution has a significantly lower environmental impact than conventional biocides

The technology

Aqualution is a specialised electrolysis unit. We treat locally available water, either from mains supply or borehole, and the water is subjected to a combination of electrolysis and ion exchange. The treated water is a potable and non-toxic biocide, containing a very small amount of chlorine and high concentrations of dissolved oxygen. The biocide is added to the main water line at low volumes (3-5%), controlled using a dosing unit.


Farm productivity increases with Aqualution through a combination of lower bird mortality, increased growth rates and better feed conversion rates. This is backed by extensive trials data and on-farm results.

Animal welfare

Eliminating bacteria from poultry drinking water removes a major source of potential infection. This can reduce the requirement for medication, and its associated costs.

Furthermore, Aqualution is fully compatible with medications and vitamins administered in water, with the exception of vaccines.

Food safety

The safety of poultry meat and eggs is of major concern to consumers. As a result, research has concentrated on identifying and controlling hazards at all stages of the supply chain.

Studies have demonstrated that clean drinking water is an important factor in reducing farm-level Campylobacter contamination in poultry. Aqualution is effective against Campylobacter and other common pathogens.

The non-medicinal nature of Aqualution reduces the risk of medicinal residues in meat. Development of bacterial resistance to on-farm use of antimicrobial products may also be prevented.

Current products

When used at sufficiently high levels to completely control common pathogens in drinking water, chlorine products are harmful to birds. Health and safety concerns have also led to chlorine and its derivatives coming under threat from EU regulations and consumer pressure.

In contrast, Aqualution is fully compliant with all relevant regulations and has a significantly lower environmental profile than conventional biocides. Aqualution eliminates any need for existing water sanitation products to be used during the crop and also at turnaround. This yields further savings and simplifies drinking water management procedures.

Figure 2. On-farm data showing drinking water tested
for micro organisms on day 1 and day 25 of a crop.

Aqualution® - frequently asked questions

Q. Why should poultry producers be concerned about drinking water hygiene?
A. On-farm control of pathogens such as Campylobacter is of utmost importance for food safety and consumer confidence in British-produced poultry. Eliminating pathogens from drinking water using Aqualution removes one potential source of infection and can also boost producers' bottom line.

Q. Is Aqualution an approved, registered biocide?
A. Yes, it complies fully with the requirements of the Biocidal Products Directive EU 98/8.

Q. How good is its efficacy?
A. Independent testing has shown that Aqualution meets the British Disinfectant Standard against Pseudomonas, E-coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter plus avian influenza.

Q. Is Aqualution compatible with water-administered vaccines?
A. The Aqualution system must be turned off twelve hours before and after any live vaccine is administered through the water system.

Q. What about medications such as Vetremox?
A. Aqualution has no effect on medications, and can continue running while they are administered.

Q. And vitamins and minerals?
A. Aqualution is also fully compatible with vitamins and minerals.

Q. Is it safe to handle?
A. Yes, Aqualution shows no harmful effects except to simple organisms such as bacteria, fungi and viruses.

Q. Are there any health and safety implications at all?
A. There are no special health and safety requirements when handling Aqualution, or when running the system.

Q. What about impact on the environment?
A. As supplied to the birds, Aqualution can be classed as potable water and, unlike alternative water hygiene products, the system has a very low environmental profile. There are no harmful chemicals to handle and store, nor any problems regarding the disposal of Aqualution-treated water after use.

Q. What equipment is required?
A. The system consists of three main components: a water softening unit, the Aqualution generator and a dosing unit. All components are compact and robust and, when installed, can be housed in a space as modest as a small garden shed.

Q. Is one dosing unit enough, or do farmers need a unit for each shed?
A. Either system can work, although it's much more cost-effective to use a single, centralised dosing unit.

Q. What does it cost?
A. The units are assembled according to individual farm requirements, so price depends on the specification.

Q. Is the system easy to manage?
A. Salt levels need to be monitored and topped up if required, but that's all. The system has been developed to require minimal input on-farm, making water management incredibly easy.

Q. What about running costs?
A. Negligible. The whole system uses less than £40 in electricity each year. All maintenance costs are included in the price of the system and the cost of the salt can also be included in the package.

Q. What if it goes wrong?
A. The system is very reliable but, for added peace-of-mind, the unit allows remote monitoring of the system, with the raising of an alarm in the event of a fault. There is a dedicated helpline and 24 hour call-out, should farms encounter any problems.

Q. What about the bio-security issues of engineers visiting poultry units?
A. In nine out of ten instances, problems can be rectified remotely. Farm visits are therefore infrequent and only take place when absolutely necessary. When visiting farms, engineers follow all recommended bio-security procedures.

Q. How do farmers know if it's working?
A. Regular microbiological Total Viable Count (TVC) testing is included to monitor the levels of micro-organisms in the drinking water. Also supplied is a testing kit for self-verification by the farmer.

Q. If productivity increases with Aqualution, what return can a poultry producer expect?
A. Birds given Aqualution can be significantly more profitable. This extra return comes about through a combination of lower mortality rates, more efficient food use and increased growth rates.

Q. Is it suitable for all types of poultry production?
A. Yes. Aqualution is suitable for chicken and turkey systems and can safely and effectively treat water for broiler producers, egg production and chick production.

Q. Is it compatible with water from boreholes?
A. Yes. Aqualution can be used with both mains water and borehole water. Even water containing iron, magnesium, calcium or sulphates can be conditioned for use with Aqualution.

Q. What about farmers using mains water?
A. Mains water is, by its nature, very clean, but it has no biocidal qualities. This means it must be treated in the same way as borehole water to ensure that it stays clean and pathogen-free through to the last drinker in the shed.

Q. Should farmers invest in a borehole?
A. Installing a borehole is a very good, cost-effective idea. It will reduce water bills to zero and Aqualution will ensure it's clean at the point of drinking.

Q. Do water lines still need to be cleaned with an acid wash between crops?
A. No, as Aqualution prevents the contamination of water lines, there is no need to flush between crops. Aqualution also prevents the build up of limescale and bio-film, extending the life of drinking water systems. Whilst acid washes are not necessary for drinking water lines, all other routine house sanitation procedures should still be followed.

Further information

For further information about Aqualution, call Nick Meakin or Tom Ritchie of Forum Bioscience on 01737 781415.

Source: Forum Bioscience - November 2005

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