Exploring the future of animal resilience

As global animal production has evolved, so too have the challenges that can negatively impact animal health and well-being. These challenges also have a direct effect on a farm’s productivity and profits. Cross-species research aims to demonstrate how functional feed ingredients can unlock physiological responses that may help animals overcome stressors. In a new report, ADM highlights the latest discoveries that can optimize animal resilience for improved performance outcomes.

Christophe Blondet
Vice President of Product Development & Applications
ADM Animal Nutrition

Modern agribusiness is a different animal than it was in the past. Common challenges within intensive animal production require innovative solutions to help farm animals overcome stressors and return to peak performance. Animal nutrition plays an important role in positively influencing resilience and cross-species research is underway to unlock the potential of functional ingredients and feeds that can support animal health and well-being. In a new report, ADM details five key trends that can affect performance and profits in the animal nutrition industry.

As scientific understanding expands, the gut microbiome is increasingly seen as a central component to an animal’s overall well-being. Functional nutrition, in which certain ingredients stimulate physiological responses that can support animal resilience, is an important wellness option. Gut microbiota help ensure nutrient absorption while also defending against pathogens that may increase the risk of disease and negatively impact health and growth performance.

Feed additives like ADM’s CitriStim™ solution*, a non-viable whole-cell Pichia guilliermondii (PG) yeast, can positively affect gut microbiota populations in poultry, swine and ruminants. Studies conducted on poultry have shown that PG yeast has potential to bind gram-negative bacteria, which may affect bacterial colonization in the host1,2. Additionally, PG yeast may have a beneficial effect on gut microflora populations in poultry3. In the probiotic space, ES1** (Bifidobacterium longum subsp. longum CECT7347) has shown potential to modulate immune response and have positive outcomes on gut barrier integrity4,5.

Precise nutrition means formulating feeds that are tailored to each species’ unique nutritional requirements, with additional customization based on the region, season and the animal’s life stage. Nutrients that are easier to digest and absorb help animals get more from less feed and help reduce environmental emissions.

For example, improving the digestible amino acid supply in broiler feed can enable reduced levels of dietary crude protein in finisher phase rations. A lower-protein formulation can help retain nitrogen, lower feed costs and improve the well-being of poultry. Researchers found improvements in breast weights and yields compared to the control, and they saw a reduction in nitrogen excretion without performance losses in the broilers6.

Stressors that can negatively affect animal performance and well-being may be caused by a variety of factors, including environmental conditions, life stage transitions and vaccinations. Some feed additives have been found to help accelerate an animal’s recovery and minimize the impact of negative stressors on growth targets.

Heat stress, for instance, is a common condition among cattle, pigs and poultry. A species-specific nutrition and services approach called FreshUp®* has shown to leverage the synergistic effects of specialty nutrition formulations to counter the negative impact of high temperatures on animal outputs. Numerous trials demonstrate improved average daily feed intake and increased average daily gain in swine7, greater feed efficiency in dairy cows8 and broilers9, and higher milk yields in cows8.

Producing healthy animals requires optimal conditions at early life stages when the right nutrients at the right time support future growth processes and performance. In aquaculture, complete feed is the main source of nutrients, and nutrient utilization depends on physiology that changes during fish and shrimp growth. Thus, it’s necessary to develop feed formulations adapted to each life stage to support animal health from hatchery to harvest. Early-stage feeds are calibrated to meet the precise requirements of fish and shrimp in terms of nutritional profile, digestibility, particle size, attractability and water stability.

Created for hatchery and nursery stages, ADM’s BernAqua®* range of fish and shrimp feeds are aligned with the needs of each marine species to help farmers achieve growth and performance targets. Additionally, a sophisticated, cold microextrusion processing technology improves feed particle behavior and stability in water, particle quality and digestibility10,11. This customized approach to aqua nutrition can support productivity and resiliency, helping more juveniles advance to grow-out stages.

In the animal nutrition business, improving feeding behavior creates efficiencies for producers, and taste and aroma can make feed more appealing to livestock. Flavors and sweeteners can be used to mask unpleasant tastes and aromas to increase feed palatability and encourage feed intake. They are also important to help young animals more readily accept solid feed, easing the transition from weaning.

Sucram, a feed additive sweetener and taste enhancer, has shown an effect on taste receptors present in the gut. When the sweet molecules are detected at the enteroendocrine level it triggers signaling pathways that cause the release of gut hormones, which leads to higher sodium/glucose transporter 1 (SGLT-1) production12. Increased SGLT-1 boosts the animal’s absorption of glucose, water and sodium. These physiological changes can help increase uptake of energy in the form of glucose while also reducing the amount of energy available for potentially harmful bacteria to grow in the gut.

Researchers across the globe are continuously exploring new solutions that will help optimize animal resilience for improved performance outcomes. However, enhancing resilience is not only important for achieving targets and increasing profits. It’s also essential to maintain the viability of the global supply chain. Optimizing animal efficiency is a necessary step toward mitigating the environmental impact of the agribusiness industry. With scientific breakthroughs supporting development of cutting-edge technologies, the animal nutrition industry can apply tomorrow’s solutions to the challenges of today.

1Shanmugasundaram; et al. (2013) Poultry Science, 92, 1195–1201.
2Markazi; et al. (2017) Poultry Science, 96, 2049–2056.
3Shanmugasundaram; et al. (2014) Poultry Science, 93, 2763–2771.
4Laparra; et al. (2012) PloS one, 7.
5Martorell; et al. (2021) Antioxidants, 10, 536.
6ADM (2021) Impact of protein reduction and amino acids contents on broilers’ performance, Unpublished company research.
7ADM (2015) Internal research report: unpublished.
8ADM (2006-2020) Internal research reports: unpublished.
9ADM (2019) Internal research report: unpublished.
10ADM (2021) Internal research report: unpublished.
11ADM (2022) Internal research report: unpublished.
12Furness; et al. (2013) Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology, advance online publication 24 September 2013.
*CitriStim™, FreshUp® and BernAqua® are trademarks registered for ADM or its affiliates.
**ES1 (Bifidobacterium longum subsp. longum CECT 7347) is used by ADM Biopolis under license from CSIC.

Not all products are available in all regions. This information is intended for informational purposes only and does not imply any express recommendations for the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease. Consult with a veterinarian for the care of all animals during health challenges.
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About Christophe Blondet
Christophe Blondet is the Vice President for Product Development & Applications in ADM’s Animal Nutrition business. He has a MSc in animal nutrition from ENSAIA and 30 years of experience in the field, including livestock and aqua nutrition, and applied research for feed and premix formulation. At ADM, he contributes to the global business strategy on food security and sustainability, while supporting animal nutrition customers in achieving their strategic goals with innovative products and services.