Feed additives

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Achieving next generation feed conversion

A cutting-edge, proprietary encapsulation technology along with an advanced formulation offers a clear solution to optimise feed conversion and improve performance.

The key to addressing many of the current challenges facing the poultry industry is better feed efficiency. Feed conversion improvement is tied to a host of modern production issues, including profitability, improving the low digestibility of alternative feed ingredients, reducing antibiotics, counteracting stressors, and overcoming environmental challenges. In further confirming its pivotal role, 1,140 industry respondents in 100 countries indicated that enhanced feed efficiency or a better feed conversion ratio (FCR) was the most important potential benefit of phytogenic feed additives (PFAs) to their operation, as captured by the Biomin 2017 Phytogenic Feed Additives Survey. “This is now a very exciting time for PFAs,” commented Michael Noonan, global product manager Phytogenics at Biomin. “The current market size is more than US$ 500 million per year and growing. Our estimates predict that the market could double every six to seven years, reaching US$ 1 billion annually by 2023. With PFAs we’ve concentrated our efforts on how to improve feed conversion, because we know that it’s a core concern for livestock and feed producers around the globe.” And at Biomin, improving feed efficiency has been the main thrust of its research and product development around phytogenics in recent years. The company has built upon the Digestarom® product line, which dates back to 1989, and recently introduced a next generation phytogenic feed additive* (hereafter called ‘phytogenic‘), designed to deliver improved feed intake, better performance and optimised feed conversion.

“This is now a very exciting time for phytogenics,” commented Michael Noonan, global product manager Phytogenics at Biomin. Photo: Biomin
“This is now a very exciting time for phytogenics,” commented Michael Noonan, global product manager Phytogenics at Biomin. Photo: Biomin

What’s new?

The phytogenic* is based on a special encapsulation technology for essential oils and phytogenic active compounds: the Biomin® Duplex Capsule (hereafter called ‘the capsule’), which combines two encapsulation techniques: matrix and core-shell encapsulation. It offers four key advantages: 1) better thermostability, 2) continuous delivery of active substances, 3) targeted, controlled release and 4) better handling.

1.Better thermostability

Essential oils and their active compounds in particular are highly volatile and heat sensitive, less than ideal characteristics in the context of modern feed production and pelleting. The capsule gives the phytogenic enhanced pelleting stability up to 95°C, as shown by the percentage of product recovered after conditioning in a cascade mixer with steam addition at different temperatures for 30 seconds, followed by pelleting for another 20-30 seconds (Figure 1).

Figure 1 – Capsule structure demonstrates pelleting stability in common conditions.

2.Continuous delivery

The new technology results in double capsules with a uniform and narrow size distribution ranging from 120 to 500 μm, allowing for more homogeneous distribution of active compounds in the phytogenic and in the feed, meaning continuous delivery of active substances in the animals.

3.Targeted, controlled release

With core-shell encapsulation, a protective coat surrounds a core comprising essential oils and active compounds. In the phytogenic, the coat and core contain different essential oils for appetising and gut modulation modules. Both layers are matrix encapsulated, meaning that the active compounds are finely dispersed in a solidified matrix, providing a targeted, controlled release along the gastrointestinal tract. The particles in the phytogenic have a very high essential oil content compared to other commercially available products. Figure 2 illustrates how the capsule permits delivery of essential oils where they are needed in an in vitro gastrointestinal model.

Figure 2 – In vitro simulated release of essential oil actives of phytogenic*.

4.Better handling

Thanks to the capsule, the phytogenic has a shelf life of 18 months, with reduced dusting potential and improved handling. While certain commercially available phytogenic feed additives have a high dusting potential of up to 20 g/m³ according to the Stauber-Heubach test, an acknowledged and official method for testing dusting potential, the corresponding value for the phytogenic is 1.6-2.4 g/m³.

Triple action formulation

The triple action formulation of the phytogenic exploits the advantages of the Biomin® Duplex Capsule to optimise feed conversion. The three modules: 1) appetising and endogenous secretions, 2) gut microbiota modulation, 3) gut protection, are formed to optimise feed conversion.

Figure 3 – Phytogenic* improves aver age body weight gain in broilers.

Figure 4 – Phytogenic* improves feed conversion ratio (FCR) in broilers.

Trial results

Recent trial results in Cobb 500 Standard broilers demonstrate the ability of the phytogenic to improve performance. Over 42 days, birds fed the phytogenic supplemented diets showed a statistically significant improvement in body weight gain (2.470 kg) versus birds fed the control diet (2.353 kg), as shown in Figure 3. Similarly, a difference was observed in the feed conversion ratios (FCR) of the two groups: 1.72 for control versus 1.69 for the phytogenic group, as shown in Figure 4. Overall, phytogenic supplementation resulted in a 2.83% increase in feed intake, a 4.96% increase in weight gain and a 1.75% decrease in FCR. The efficiency gains translate into direct economic benefits for producers. Similarly positive results have been observed in a series of piglet trials.

*Digestarom® DC

István Csutorás, product manager Phytogenics

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