Role of Antioxidants in Feed

Role of Antioxidants in FeedAntioxidants in feed play a major role in animal health, production and performance. This is due to the detrimental effects of radicals and toxic products of their metabolism on various metabolic processes. It is a well known fact that oxidative stress is involved in many degenerative disorders. The oxidative free radicals are therefore considered as pathobiochemicals mechanism for initiating or progression of various diseases. The prooxidant-antioxidant balance can be regulated by optimal nutrient uptake or providing herbal antibiotics. Thus, the essential step in maintaining the balance between the oxidative damage and antioxidative defence in the animal body would be to boost the antioxidant capacity by optimising the dietary intake of antioxidants.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant. It is an important anti-stress agent. However, it can be easily oxidized. Sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C is required in collagen biosynthesis and protein metabolism.

Vitamin E is the found in the biological membranes and lipid droplets. Vitamin E is absorbed in the small intestine with various efficacious depending on the diet composition, level of supplementation, age, sex and other individual characteristics of animals. It is the main chain-breaking antioxidant in biological systems.

Carotenoid is a natural pigment, responsible for yellow, orange and sometimes red pigmentation’s in plants, insects, birds and marine animals. They possess antioxidant activity. They have some health promoting properties, including immune system modulation. They are found in some plant-derived feed ingredients.

Manganese has an essential part of a range of enzymes taking part in antioxidant protection, bone growth and egg shell formation carbohydrate and lipid metabolism including processing of cholesterol.

Zinc is the second most abundant trace element trace element in mammals and they take part in antioxidant defence as an integral part of SOD, hormone secretion, keratin generation and epithelial tissue integrity immune function.

Iron has a vital role in antioxidant defence as an essential component of catalase, energy and protein metabolism, hence respiratory carrier, electron transport, oxidation-reduction reaction.

Antibiotics in feed for poultry-do we need them?

Antibiotics in feed for poultry - Vinayak IngredientsThere is constant race for better meat yielding animals. As the grain costs increase on an annual basis, the drag co-efficient for the poultry industry has hit a new high. The need for cheap and not necessarily good quality raw materials is more than it ever was. As the nutritional basis for animal feed switches from cost effective to effective cost, there is need for the farmer to be more stringent in choosing the right feed formulation to meet rising demand for meat and eggs. While some choose to be eccentric and follow the all organic approach, more than 70 % of the farms choose to be otherwise. As the health of the bird becomes secondary especially in a short 28 day period, the drive for production is main reason for the advent of antibiotic use in animal feed in the 20th century with the intention to reduce mortality and improve weight gain. As antibiotics gained popularity, the heritage of newly discovered antibiotics passed quickly from human to animal use.

The approach towards poultry and other livestock used for food production has to be of a preventive medicine. The use of antibiotics for this purpose blurred the line between treatment and prevention. Let’s take some time to understand this briefly,  for human medicine, population medicine is individualistic, especially in case of microbial disease, whereas in case of poultry there is a close association between the birds in the house where it is always a sub population we intend to treat or prevent disease in. Using preventive medicine tools directs here to understand the trends and predict outcomes. We always try to go one better by improving bio security and management practices, so that we affix our outcomes of clean bird production.  Once we start using substances that kill micro-flora we are already invading the population by measures labelled as preventive, but actually treating a problem, so be it at a micro-scale. This so called preventive use of antibiotics in feed treats every birds differently, where in human medicine we consider parenteral as the route of choice for maximum efficacy, feeding birds orally forms one barrier, apart from not discussing how much one bird will consume and how often. Now we come to a question very recently asked by the pro –antibiotics lobby, how antibiotics used for the animal use and human use being different, have a chance to produce antibiotic resistance that is significant for human medicine. To put my point clearly below is a table published in one report that demarks different categories of antibiotics with respect to their in animal or in human use.

This report says as reported by FDA, but actually is an adaptation from the report and the table is not present in the original FDA version.

Even if we consider that the categories are different for human and animal use, how one ensures that antibiotics working on certain targets as cell wall or cell division are going to discriminate the categories. We are not even sure that how low dose of certain one category of antibiotics affects the cross development of antibiotic resistance.

So, where do we go from here, do we use antibiotics or not? Let’s now focus on what can be done.

We can list how we can collectively reduce antibiotics,

  1. Treat Invitro

This implies to enhancing the biosecurity measures in all inputs for the birds. Using safe, natural alternatives in these zones which include the water source, litter, House and feed. Using disinfectants of natural origin in these zones kill the microbes where they are most vulnerable that is outside the bird body.

  1. Focus on nutrition

Use bio-availability scales to improve the nutrition supply to the birds. Healthy birds survive on the accord on their own immunity and natural barriers. Remember the host also in the infection trilogy of pathogen, host and environment interaction.

  1. Clean processed birds for sale

The importance of slaughter house disinfection should not be lost. This is the last step that the producer can really control its quality of carcass. Using non-residual agents for cleansing of carcass.

  1. Gut is where all the action is

Improving gut flora results in better good micro flora dominance in the intestine. Additives that improve all supporting structures which enhance the micro climate for gut will improve gut associated lymphoid tissue and results in improved immunity and absorption. Gut health enhancement also reduces chances of pathogens passing into the blood and other vital organs. Reducing the endogenous losses from gut will also enhance amino acid turn-over in poultry.

Efforts should be made to cull such trends when they originate and the poultry industry should keep an open mind towards use of alternatives to antibiotics, as it would take some withdrawal time to wean off these dependencies.