Reducing antibiotics for poultry with a combination feed solution
AMIR E. GHANE* explains how using feed additives that combine enzymes and probiotics can help poultry producers address the complex challenge of reducing or eliminating Antibiotics.
Both enzymes and probiotics are known to deliver positive benefits in terms of animal performance. Enzymes have long been used as an integral part of animal diets in order to improve digestibility, alleviate ingredient variability, reduce feed costs, and provide a prebiotic effect. While in recent years, probiotics – also known as direct fed microbials (DFM) – have attracted considerable attention. They have not only been shown to have a largely positive impact on animal growth and health, but are also considered one of the main tools in antibiotic-reduced or antibiotic-free programs. This has led to the development of a new generation of feed additives that combine enzymes and probiotics in one high performance product. In this synergistic partnership, the enzymes improve digestion, reduce undigested nutrients and produce prebiotic effects, while the probiotic directly and indirectly acts to improve the proper balance of microbiota in the gut. So why does a combination feed additive achieve such strong results in corn-based and mixed grain poultry diets? And what are the main considerations?
The best outcomes are achieved when an optimal blend of enzymes and probiotics are used. This means it is necessary to first understand the positive effects of each individually, so that the source and dosage of each element can be selected according to proven efficacy, consistency, and evidencebased research. In the case of enzymes, their prebiotic effect in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is due to improved digestion and a subsequent reduction in levels of undigested nutrients, such as protein. This is particularly important in high density diets, which could otherwise lead to an imbalance of microflora. By improving digestion and reducing the availability of nutrients used by non-beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), enzymes produce substrates – such as arabinoxylooligosaccharides (AXOS)- that can be used by beneficial bacterial populations including Bifidobacteria, Lactobacillus, and butyrate-producing organisms. This results in increases in volatile fatty acids (VFA) and short-chain fatty (SCFA) which benefit the host. Not only that, antinutrients can also be reduced. In the case of Syncra AVI for example, an optimized blend of xylanase, amylase and protease enzymes is used to deliver a robust prebiotic effect in the GIT of the animal. In short, enzymes promote a proper balance of microbiota in favour of beneficial bacteria leading to enhanced digestion, better performance, and improved GIT health. But enzymes are only part of the solution. Equally important is the inclusion of a proven probiotic in order to promote a beneficial microbiota. Yet, although there are many probiotics available on the market claiming to be the best replacement for antibiotics – from single to multi-strain – very few have the scientific research or a detailed record of use to back this up. In fact, the majority are from Bacillus subtilis which is a vast family of bacteria; meaning there are significant differences between strains in terms of their efficacy and – most importantly – consistency of results. That’s why Syncra AVI has been formulated using a three strain Bacillus probiotic from the poultry environment, which has been carefully selected for maximum complimentary effect and coexistence with the host. In this way, it helps to establish a beneficial microbiota and promote a healthy gut.
Research and results
Indeed, the synergistic effects of Multi-strain Bacillus probiotic promotes the establishment of beneficial microbiodata. Syncra AVI gives synergistic improvements in ileal digestibility versus the components. The most effective enzyme-probiotic feed additives means they deliver a superior performance compared to the individual components alone. An advantage which is supported by a growing number of studies demonstrating consistently positive outcomes against key performance indicators and a strong return on investment (ROI). This is certainly the case for ileal digestibility, which results in energy improvements that far exceed predictions. However, these are not only positive performance outcomes. Certain enzyme-probiotic feed additives have also been shown to significantly improve bodyweight gain (BWG), feed conversion ratio (FCR) and cost savings. It can be used in antibiotic free-antibiotic reduction programs and the research has shown its beneficial impact on supporting gut health and a balanced microbiota. Inclusion in feed strategies has also shown positive effects on intestinal integrity. By regulating the acute induced immune response, these products can help to reduce gut damage and create a stronger defence against bacterial challenge. A vital feature which helps to maintain optimum energy balance and performance in the animal. In the case of a necrotic enteritis challenge, for example, Syncra AVI has proven particularly beneficial, with studies indicating it leads to relatively stronger animal recovery.
To release the full potential of enzyme-probiotic feed additives, optimum levels should be adjusted according to the conditions of each operating environment. Key factors to consider include existing unit challenges and health programs, as well as production targets for FCR, BWG, and ROI. It’s also worth bearing in mind that these products should be part of an integrated feed strategy; where levels of dietary phytate, volume and solubility of calcium in relation to phosphate, along with other major ingredients used in the feed are all used to determine the most effective dosage for maximum commercial return.
Dr Amir E. Ghane (Amir.E.Ghane@dupont. com) is Senior Technical Director, Asia Pacific with Danisco Animal Nutrition (IFF). References are available on request to the author.