Three pillars to improve feed efficiency

Dr. Y G Liu and Dr. Claire Xu, Adisseo Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, Singapore


At current AGP reduction/removal era, especially in those Asian countries with clear government regulations and execution plans, major stake-holders in the animal industry have been actively testing and implementing all possible solutions, from effective feed additives served as AGP alternatives to improved farm management for better biosecurity.

From feed miller's side, besides educating farmers and ensuring feed hygiene and safety, implementing integrated solution to improve feed efficiency and ensure satisfactory animal performance, is their main nutritional target.  There are three main pillars to achieve desired feed efficiency:

Pillar 1: Timely Raw Material Quality Control and Optimize Feed Formulation

Feed ingredients nutritional values can be very variable from one origin to another (Figure 1) due to many factors, e.g. grain hybrid, seasonality, harvest techniques, processing and storage conditions, etc. Therefore evaluating each batch of raw material in a timely manner is key to optimize feed formulation and ensure satisfactory animal performance and profitability at the same time. 


Figure 1:  Comparison of digestible lysine (%, as fed) of soybean meals from 3 different production countries (Chart extracted from PNE)

Precise Nutrition Evaluation (PNE) is the Adisseo's solution to manage feed ingredients variabilities. Combining NIR technology and Adisseo's 30+ years' expertise on in vivo raw material research, PNE allows users to conduct on-time predictions of important nutrition parameters, especially apparent metabolizable energy (AME) and digestible amino acids (DAA), which are key buying factors and difficult to check with conventional wet chemistry measures. Moreover, PNE can be used to follow the variability over time, locations and supplies, thereby helping to make right data-driven decisions for optimized feed formulations.

As demonstrated in Figure 1, trend charts can be easily plotted with a few simple clicks to set time period, analysis parameters and origins. Users are able to clearly compare their own purchase with collective data of country and regional/worldwide level.

Pillar 2: Evaluation of Indigestible Fraction of Feed and Increase Overall Digestibility by Feedase

Even though well formulated, there is still up to 30% of feed that animals are not able to digest. Knowing the substrates and physiological limitations of animals, it is reasonable to expect a potential improvement of the undigested fraction by up to 35% with the use of exogenous enzymes. This would be equivalent to a 7% improvement of the global feed digestibility (Ravindran, 2013). A tool named Rovabio® Advance Predictor, has been developed to estimate how much indigestible nutrients of a particular feed ingredient could be released upon supplementing a feedase (Rovabio® Advance), so that nutritionists can reformulate the diets accordingly. 

Figure 2: Synergistic actions of Arabinofuranosidase and Xylanase to degrade arabinoxylan chains
Feedase, as a global enzyme solution, is able to offer digestibility improvement of all nutrients. With the synergic actions of xylanases and arabinofuranosidases, the feedase Rovabio® Advance allows for an overall 3% digestibility improvement of feed, including proteins, amino acids, starch, lipids, phosphorus, etc. Known as important anti-nutritional compounds, arabinoxylans are made of a xylose backbone with arabinose side chains. Arabinofuranosidase debranches arabinoses, allowing xylanases more space to further break down the xylose backbone, which in turn opens more accessibility for endogenous enzymes to work on their substrates (Figure 2).

In a recent trial conducted in Brazil, broilers were fed three diets during the 0-42 day period: Positive Control (corn, soybean meal diet), Negative Control (-3% AME & -3% dAA), and Negative Control + Rovabio® Advance. The addition of feedase Rovabio® Advance in the NC diet recovered performance to the same level as the Positive Control (Figure 3). With such reformulation, the feedase supplementation allowed for a reduction of feed costs by $15/t feed treated.


Figure 3: Performance trial made in Brazil


Pillar 3: Improve Nutrient Absorption by Acting on the Intestine

In recent decades, the amount of feed ingested by chickens has largely increased, challenging the intestines' capacity and putting further stress on the animals. Such a huge feed intake may result in increased inflammation, unbalanced microbiota, and disturbance of the intestinal health status, which will lead to poor absorption and performance losses.


Figure 4. Measurement of the concentration of interleukin IL-8 (in pg/mL) after interleukin IL-1 stimulation. IL-1 is known to be a marker of stress detection while IL-8 is known to be a marker of inflammatory response.

When inflammation occurs, the intestine is less effective in absorption, and there is an increased maintenance cost in energy and in amino acids through the immune response. As AGP alternative solutions efficient probiotics, such as those based on Bacillus subtilis (Alterion®), could lower inflammation (figure 4) and thus enhance feed absorption and metabolic transformation.

In addition, as shown in Figure 5, Alterion® can have an impact on the host intestine morphology, and improve the length of the intestinal microvilli in both ileum and caecum, thereby enhancing the surface of absorption and allowing the animal to digest more from the feed. Such enhanced intestinal nutrient absorption will result in improved animal performance (Jacquier, IHSIG 2016).


In Summary, feed efficiency can be improved by three main pillars: 1) accurate knowledge of the quality of the raw materials and precise adjustment of the feed formulation, e.g. PNE; 2) a global feedase solution, e.g. Rovabio® Advance, to reduce the undigested part of the feed and increase overall feed digestibility; 3), addition of probiotics, e.g. Alterion®, to allow further nutrient absorption and better animal performance. To ensure optimal animal-growth parameters and feed-cost savings, a full range of nutritional solutions has to be developed and proposed to the animal protein producers.


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Article made possible through the contribution of Dr. Y G Liu, Dr. Claire Xu and Adisseo Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, Singapore