Micro emulsions in Poultry are dispersions of oil and water with an emulsifier.They are clear, thermodynamically stable, isotropic liquid mixtures. They are super solvents which improves stability and thermodynamic activity of formulation. Micro emulsions are beneficial to be used because it increases efficacy of the formulation allowing dose reduction. The average particle size of micro emulsion is 0.1 micrometer which helps in increasing the interfacial area thereby allowing active ingredient to get released easily. In poultry, micro emulsions are designed to include natural essential oils cell wall which in turn binds to mycotoxins to protect animals against mycotoxosis.
Ingredients have introduced micro emulsion which is
an alternative to antibiotics named
as Herbofloxin. It is of natural origin prepared from essential oil of
syzygium, citronella, thymus, eucalyptus. Herbofloxin has a particle size less
than 0.1 micrometer which makes it easily soluble in water. It maintains
poultry gut’s pH-6.5 to 6.7 which is slightly acidic. As it is a micro emulsion
it has better dispersion in water, stable at 45 degree Celsius temperature and
has a longer shelf life. All these factors makes it safe to be consumed by
poultry without having any side effects which are otherwise usually caused by
using antibiotics. Herbofloxin is natural replacer for antibiotic growth promoters.
of action: Herbofloxin being a micro emulsion when mixed with
water forms nano emulsion due to which particle size decreases further making
it easier to penetrate the bacterial cell wall and disrupt it. Disruption of
cell wall leads to killing of bad bacteria such as Escherichia coli,
Campylobacter, Clostridium and Salmonella. Thus it acts like a bacteriostatic.
It also acts as an anti-inflammatory by improving mucin coverage which is a
first line of defence in poultry.
Herbofloxin as a micro emulsion replaces antibiotics
such as tetracycline’s, fluoroquinolones, amino glycosides and selectively modulates
poultry gut to promote the beneficial microflora.
Matrix is a term people will generally relate to the Keanu Reeves; even google will present you with this as a first page result. However matrix in the feed analogy is more related to something mathematical. The words digestible nutrients of feed ingredients and matrix are generally used as synonyms. But matrix actually represents the nutrients available in the feed additive together with the nutrients spared or made available by use of the same additive in the feed formulation. It represents the total nutrition provided to the animal body directly or indirectly by affecting the digestibility of feed. So, what is the use of matrix? We all remember our schooling days in mathematics and associate with a name called as Linear programming problems acronym as LPP. These are mathematical equations to link variables together to extract optimum results. One can set the key parameters such as price, dosage, availability, standards as variables with monetary profits as realistic outcomes. To give an example of LPP, let’s try this, for what combination of three machines A, B and C can work together with efficiency using each other’s limitations on different levels of time, use, power and accuracy to obtain an algorithm best suitable to manufacture maximum units of D in the least possible time, consuming least electricity and maintaining quality standards by reducing standard deviation. In layman terms it will give you a method of best utilization of available resources. So a matrix will enable us to use LPP, which are now-a-days coded in software’s that help in formulating feed.
So how does one calculate the
matrix of a feed additive? The answer is to run digestibility trials. These
trials evaluate the nutritional availability from the ingredient to the animal.
The availability can be further refined as in case of terms in energy as gross
energy, metabolizable energy and so on. The digestibility trials also are
needed to be refined on the basis of species, age, breed, sex and diet. A
mature broiler breeder will have an ability to digest nutrients from corn which
will be a different for a layer chick and a corn-soy diet with fishmeal will
have different matrix then a corn-soy-bran diet with lupins. Once individual
ingredient digestibility values are calculated the nutrional content can be
corrected with these fractions to determine their true potential in feed
formulations. Many phytogenic origin products have tried to replace certain
high cost matrix products in the feed. But very few have succeeded to relate
the plant sourced additive in terms of a compatible matrix value. The matrix
can be also formed on the basis of growth studies where ingredient for
ingredient replacement can be tested by using performance parameters. A
correlation graph can be utilized to compare the new ingredients which fit
better in an LPP for cost reduction with the old ones, falling short on the
price front or other long term frontiers. In case of certain additives like phytase
enzymes which result in mobilization phosphorus, the tibial ash content
comparisons are also used to form matrix.
An in vivo digestibility assay in
case of poultry ideally focuses of ileal sampling of digesta and deductively
analyzing the same with oral fed feed. The birds are sacrificed and digesta is
sampled at different levels of the gut to understand the digestibility of
ingredients. As ileum is the terminal region of the small intestine and
digestion is considered at its optimum here, the feed sampled in these zones is
used for developing a matrix. The fecal collection is generally contaminated
with renal excretions and is not considered as ideal to evaluate digestibility
of precision fed feed. The most accurate theoretical method to estimate digestibility
values is to use cecectomized roosters. Only few attempts to replicate the
digestive values in vitro are successful and are not as accurate as in vivo
methods. Most of the values tested in vitro were based on activity of enzymes
on a certain feed grain and do not replicate real time complexities of in vivo
Research is now moving to the
molecular level, and ultimately it is the nutrients that are utilized at a
cellular level that matter the most. Current digestibility studies focus on the
nutrients absorbed from the intestinal lumen to the blood, whereas growth
studies compare the net benefits from the additive. In the future our goal
should be a point of intersection between these two studies with molecular
markers used to light up our path to the least cost matrix for success.
We all know amino acids are building blocks of life. The application of amino acids in feed industry has been since four decades. Amino acids for feed now play key role in improving the efficiency of protein utilization in animal feeding. Among others, let’s discuss DL-Methioninesince it’s the first limiting amino acid, followed by L-Lysine and L-Threonine.
Methionine is an essential amino acid required by poultry an insufficient amount for optimum body weight gain or egg production. The deficiency of methionine, therefore, causes retarded growth in broilers and reduced egg production in layers. On the other hand, surplus of methionine has been associated with arthrosclerosis. Methionine is also a major constituent in feather formation. Its deficiency leads to poor feather growth and rise in the feather pecking in order to obtain adequate methionine. This behavior can lead to cannibalism among the flocks. This could be the worst nightmare ever possible to farmers. To our rescue, synthetic DL-Methionine began finding its way into the poultry industry since the late 1950s. Till now broiler requirements are been met by the use of synthetic methionine since it’s affordable to the farmers. By now we can sense how adverse effect can DL-methionine have on chickens.
The question that comes to our mind
is- How safe is synthetic Methionine to poultry?
To answer this, we first need to know little background chemistry about DL-Methionine. DL-methionine contains two isomers L-form and its mirror image D-form in equal ratios. However, only L-methionine can be utilized to synthesize protein. The second half D-methionine first needs to be converted to L form and then it’s available to use. To our surprise, D-methionine is not converted completely but around 90% in chickens. So what happens to the rest of the 10%? So if you learnt what happens in calves, it seems that it may result in elevated plasma methionine, then it could be evident that traces of DL-methionine can be found in the carcasses of Methionine fed broilers. (J. P. Felix D’Mello, Amino acids in animal nutrition, CABI publishing, UK).
methionine requirements have always been into controversies. It has been
heavily criticized for the use of synthetic amino acid in the feed to increase
the bird growth rather than its health. Moreover, synthetic methionine disturbs
the whole system of nitrogen cycle in the poultry. This has led to the
prohibition on the use of synthetic methionine in animal feed formulation by United
of Agriculture (USDA), 2000.
But not forgetting that a well balanced dietary protein and amino acids for poultry is a high priority issue among nutritionists for various reasons. First, cost of proteins and individual amino acids can be expensive nutrients in feed per unit weight. The price fluctuation of DL-Methionine and supply chain discrepancies result is massive shift of feed prices and reduces your profit. Therefore, selecting the appropriate level of amino acids becomes your critical economic decision. You will reach this goal only if you are dosing your methionine correctly. Inconsistency can never be avoided in an industry where raw materials are heavily applied. Therefore whatever you add in your feed diet, will surely affect your main objective.
Therefore, addition of supplemental methionine in feed formulation requires precision. Second, the environmental pollution issues about nitrogen excretion from the poultry farming which can cause pollution of soil, air and water. A study shows that one percent reduction of crude protein in a diet can yield 8 to 10% reduction of nitrogen excretion. Hence it can be said that 3 to 4% reduction of crude protein with supplementation of first, second and third limiting amino acids can yield same growth performance with 30 to 40% reduction of nitrogen emission. And third, poor quality dietary proteins and amino acids can have major negative impact in heat stress conditions which is because of inefficient amino acid digestibility.
Well, many of the scientists are in constant discovery or invention to combat these hurdles. Moritz along with its colleagues in its article explains the use of feed restriction to increase commercial broiler forage intake. Thus, the plant material consumed along with any insects if available can be sufficient to obtain methionine.
Synthetic methionine and feed restriction effects on performance and meat quality of organically reared broiler chickens. Journal of Applied Poultry Research 14:521–535). However, the availability of the methionine solely depends on the forage composition and its management. Also providing large scale flocks with quality pasture would be difficult. In addition, the forage quality and quantity will differ significantly time to time.
Halder and Roy have compared the performance of broilers between no added methionine group, synthetic methionine fed group and herbal derived methionine group (Halder, G. and B. Roy, 2007. Effect of herbal or synthetic methionine on performance, cost benefit ratio, meat and feather quality of broiler chicken. Int. J. Agric. Res., 2: 987-996). The results show that liver triglycerides in methionine fed group were evidently high in contrast to herbal derived methionine group.
Overall performance in both methionine-supplemented groups was found similar (higher than the methionine deficient group). However, the quality of the protein makes it difficult in digestibility in the intestine. To summarize, there is still no proper way out to this crisis. Remember, Science is never done, it’s always changing. The goal of science is to devise framework, to describe how things works together, to study things are right now so that we can predict how things will be in the future. And so if we learn to trust science in all its fuzziness and incompleteness, it can prove to be best tool to find solution to these problems. After all, animal welfare, managing food safety and environmental issues are our major concerns.