Inclusion of enzymes in animal feed. Practical examples.
The biggest cost in any farm is feed . That is why well-formulated, balanced and highly bioavailable diets are necessary to obtain good productive performance, as they help to increase profits. Adding enzymes, molecules that help to digest feed, to the diet is a useful tool to increase nutrient utilization and, consequently, to improve performance and reduce feeding costs.
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The biggest cost in any farm is feed . That is why well-formulated, balanced and highly bioavailable diets are necessary to obtain good productive performance, as they help to increase profits.
Adding enzymes, molecules that help to digest feed, to the diet is a useful tool to increase nutrient utilization and, consequently, to improve performance and reduce feeding costs.
How do enzymes work?
Enzymes are molecules that catalyze chemical reactions. More specifically, digestive enzymes break the bonds of macromolecules present in the feed to form smaller molecules that can be absorbed in the gut. This step is required in order to use the nutrients from the diet.
Animals can synthesize and segregate enzymes in the digestive tract to digest feed. Despite this, very often, animals in intensive production systems do not produce enough enzymes or cannot synthesize the necessary ones to digest some components of the diet . This situation takes place because of two enzyme properties: a higher number of enzymes is required when the amount of substratum increases and enzymes are highly specific, as they only act on specific substrates (table 1) .
Why should enzymes be included in the diet?
The most important reasons to include enzymes in the diet are:
- Insufficient endogenous production of enzymes by the animal : Diets used in intensive production systems contain high concentrations of nutrients, particularly of protein, and a higher amount of enzymes is required to digest them.
- Use of alternative raw materials: These ingredients contain a higher amount of non-starch polysaccharides that endogenous enzymes cannot digest . For example, barley contains β-glucans, a type of carbohydrates that birds cannot digest. Usually, these ingredients are included in the diets to reduce feed cost and, in order to ensure nutrient availability and prevent digestive disorders, their inclusion should be accompanied with the proper enzymes in the diet .
- Presence of antinutritional factors (ANFs): Substances such as gosipol or tannins that interfere with nutrient utilization in different ways . Some enzymes inactivate them.
- Age limitations: This is particularly true in pigs, particularly in early-weaned piglets that are not capable of producing enough enzymes to digest carbohydrates such as starch, since their digestive system is not yet completely developed .
Ultimately, enzyme inclusion is essential in commercial diets to ensure proper diet utilization, improve productive performance and reduce feeding costs. Besides, enzymes reduce the presence of undigested feed in the digestive tract, which helps to prevent the multiplication of pathogenic microorganisms that cause gut infections, such as Clostridium perfringens , .
Which are the most recommendable enzyme solutions?
Several factors should be considered when choosing the right enzyme solution, such as the type and amount of cereal in the diet, the presence of antinutritional factors and the species and age of the animals. Since diet composition usually varies depending on the price of raw materials (feeds are formulated at the lower cost), the most recommendable option is using a multi-enzyme product.
These are solutions that contain multiple enzymes intended for the digestion of several carbohydrates with the aim to maintain high nutrient availability regardless of the diet composition. This adds up to the fact that the recent increase in cost of raw material such as yellow corn has caused a raise in the use of alternative cereals such as barley or wheat.
Other valuable components of an enzymatic are proteases, such as subtilisin, which facilitates the digestion of highly protein diet used in commercial diets to obtain good performance results.
Finally, it is highly recommended to evaluate the effect of enzyme solutions on animals by studying their effects on productive parameters. the most profitable product should be determined comparing the benefits with the cost.
Practical example: comparison of two multi-enzymatic products
A trial was conducted at the Universidad Cientifica del Sur (Lima, Peru) in chickens to evaluate the effect and profitability of two multi-enzymatic products against a control group.
One of these enzyme products was Alquerzim, a solution developed by Biovet S.A. that contains multiple enzymes carefully selected to improve feed digestibility, based on the usual ingredients of broiler diets.
The evaluation consisted of three groups with 300 Cobb 500 chickens raised until day 42 of life:
- Group 1: basal diet without enzymes
- Group 2: basal diet + Alquerzim
- Group 3: basal diet + enzymatic product
On day 42, a weight was significantly better in the groups with enzymes compared to the control. Besides, Alquerzim proved to be the most effective multi-enzyme solution to improve weight, as it obtained 50.6 more gram per bird than the other product. Alquerzim also improved feed conversion by 2.53%, which represents a reduction of feeding costs.
Results show the positive impact of enzymes on farm profitability and the importance of using a highly effective multi-enzyme solution, such as Alquerzim, which allows to reduce by 135 tons the amount of feed used and to produce 51 more tons of meat every 1 million chickens.
In short, this evaluation conducted at the Universidad Científica del Sur following the scientific method determined that Alquerzim is more effective than another multi-enzyme product widely used in the market. Besides, the comparison with the control group proves the importance of including highly effective multi-enzymatic products in the diets to reduce costs and optimize benefits.
Enzyme inclusion in the diets is an effective tool to improve diet utilization and prevent digestive disorders, which has a positive impact on farm profitability. Multi-enzymatic products are the ones that offer more benefits, such as Alquerzim, composed of the most important enzymes for poultry, designed according to the most frequently used conventional and less conventional raw materials in broiler diets. This product is more effective than others, which can be observed with an increased final weight (+50.8 g/bird) and an improved feed conversion (2.53% improvement).
Full results of this trial were presented at Biovet International Symposium on March 18, 2021.
Alquerzim is a product developed by Biovet S.A. that is part of the enzyme line marketed by the same company.
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MV. Júlia Pié Orpí
Veterinary Technical support to the area of Latin America at Biovet S.A. Laboratories Official Veterinary Services (SVO) in poultry slaughterhouse