Optimal gut health is of vital importance to the performance of production animals, especially for young animals. While current research is focused on alternatives for sustainable food animal production, different technologies have been evaluated, with distinct molecules and more or less advance release technologies.
GUT HEALTH: A CORNERSTONE FOR PROPER NUTRITION OF YOUNG ANIMALS
With the continuous increase in the world population and the consequent demand for animal protein worldwide, the search for new strategies to optimize animal health is a key component of improving production efficiency. During the last decade, there has been new emphasis placed on the gut of the animal and in particular gastrointestinal health as gut health can influence animal development, health and susceptibility to disease, and nutrient metabolism. Optimal gut health is of vital importance to the performance of production animals, especially for young animals. While current research is focused on alternatives for sustainable food animal production, different technologies have been evaluated, with distinct molecules and more or less advance release technologies.
DOUBLE-ENCAPSULATION FOR A HIGH PRECISION CONTROLLED-RELEASE OF ACTIVE MOLECULES
Various types of feed additives have been evaluated, for their effect on gut health, such as phytogenics, organic acids, pre/pro/post-biotics, …. These solutions have generally some positive effects on gut health as they can exhibit positive impact on microflora, immunity, gut integrity, … In the meantime, the form of these products can vary a lot, from simple powders or mixes, to more sophisticated formulations. Some molecules may not require any kind of protection while others might be degraded before they even reach their target in the gut of animals. The variability in product forms and uncontrolled release then results in poor or inconsistent results or eventually higher dose and costs for producers. As a matter of fact, scientists need to work on new active molecules but also new technologies that guarantee the accurate and exact release in the animals.
Recently, a biotech company developed a new technology, based on an exclusive formulation and a new double encapsulation approach. With expertise in micro-encapsulation technologies and also the right facilities and infrastructures to prototype, scale up and produce such solutions, the company worked on one advanced concept: This new approach relies on one exclusive and original formulation with, on one hand a combination of phytogenics and phycogenics (active molecules from plants and algae) with proven effect on digestibility and immunity, and on the other hand a core of organic acids, with proven stabilizing effects on gut microflora. The group of phytogenics (from Greek Phytos, plants) covers a wide group of molecules from plants with proven effect on microflora, digestive functions, immune system or gut integrity. In parallel, phycogenics (from Greek Phycos = Algae) represent an emerging category with specific activities (antioxidant effect, immune enhancer, prebiotic effect). Finally organic acids can act in the digestive tract on pathogens such as Coliforms, E.Coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, and Clostridium. Furthermore, the new product relies on a double encapsulation to enable, not just a slow release, but an accurate and precise controlled release of ingredients in the gut health. Thanks to this double-encapsulation, active compounds are released specifically between the duodenum down to the colon, with fractionated or sequenced release of the different ingredients, so that every compound gets released on spot to enhance digestive functions and control gut microflora.
MAINTAIN AND SUPPORT PERFORMANCE OF YOUNG ANIMALS IN THE ‘REAL LIFE’
This technology is designed to not only boost performance in standard conditions but also to secure performance in challenged conditions for monogastrics. Indeed, based on this exclusive formulation and double-encapsulation technology, this new concept is designed to address 3 main objectives:
• Support digestive functions (digestion & absorption)
• Trigger antioxidant effect and immune modulation
• Ensure pathogen control (Clostridium, E.coli, Salmonella)
Numerous field trials have proven and quantified the positive effects of this new technology on pigs’ performance and profitability in modern hog production. Several trials, in Asia, Europe, have showed a significant increase of performance. During few recent trials, this solution has been tested at 0.8 to 1.2 kg/ton of feed in pigs. The technology triggered a better growth due to better intestinal health, better feed conversion ratio, but also less enteric problems. In particular different trials have shown the added value of this technology (and the synergy between phytogenics, phycogenics and organic acids) compared to traditional or ‘simple’ blends of phytogenics. The different active ingredients showed complementary effects to stimulate digestive functions and secure gut health. Besides, the double encapsulation enables a specific controlled release that delivers active molecules on spot for a maximum.
Indeed, this new technology helps nutritionists to prevent the drop of performance in case of health challenges or adverse conditions. Indeed, various trials have shown how this double encapsulation technology could prevent performance decrease in case of challenge and lead to more consistent results over the time. It supports better growth and feed efficacy but also foremost a better health status of animals. This solution can be part of a holistic approach to reduce risk of health challenges and its detrimental effect on performance and profitability of animals. As such, this technology, based on a synergistic formulation of phytogenics, phycogenics and organic acids, offers an opportunity to support gut health of animals and trigger more consistent performance, especially in adverse conditions, thanks to its unique ‘sequenced release’ of ingredients in the intestinal tract.
CONCLUSION: Combining the right ‘delivery’ technology with innovative formulation for high precision efficacy
The progress of research during the last decade has highlighted the direct relationship between animal performance and ‘gut health’, but also the complexity of this topic, that encompasses a number of physiological and functional disciplines, including nutrient digestion and absorption, host metabolism, energy generation, gut integrity, immunology, among others. In addition, scientists are now requested to work on alternatives to traditional molecules to develop a more sustainable food animal production. Such a complex environment requires some advanced solutions, combining the right molecules and as well the right ‘delivery mode’, that will guarantee the efficacy, or let’s rather say the ‘optimal and consistent’ efficacy, that will help farmers to maintain health and performance of animals, even during adverse conditions. Emerging solutions based on a dual approach, combine an exclusive formulation, with a core of organic acids and sustainable ingredients such as phycogenics and phytogenics, together with an innovative double-encapsulation mode for a sequenced and accurate release of active molecules, for more consistent performance and higher return on investment for farmers.
About Dr. Stephanie Ladirat
Dr. Stephanie Ladirat is the technology director at NUQO. She obtained her MSc degree in Food Technology with a specialization in Food Ingredient and Functionality and her PhD degree in Food Chemistry from Wageningen University (The Netherlands). During her PhD thesis, she studied in depth the human gut microbiota composition and its modulation upon prebiotic supplementation and/or antibiotic treatments. From 2014 till 2020, she worked at Cargill Animal Nutrition, first as technology lead for gut health additives and, then, as swine portfolio manager. She provided global technical product support for a broad range of products (phytogenics, organic acids, short and medium chain fatty acids, probiotics) and trained technical and sales teams. She most recently managed R&D projects and developped innovative feed additive solutions to answer specific customer needs related to animal gut health and performance.