Role of Antioxidants in Feed

Role of Antioxidants in FeedAntioxidants 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.

Anti Antibiotics – The Way Ahead

Anti Antibiotics – The Way AheadFor years together Livestock has been an in separable part of humanity. The cheapest and most readily available source of protein.  The methods of rearing livestock have evolved in leaps; this is clearly evident in case of the poultry industry. The word broiler is now taken as Cobb or Ross and to keep up with the protein deficit of the world new strains are being introduced to cultivate meat faster and in an efficient way.

In this process several mechanisms have been devised to improve the bird, the environment or the final product. This introduces us to fields of Breeder genetics, Nutrigenomics, Housing, Management, Bio-security, Carcass traits, Packaging, Logistics and shelf life, all of which try to improve the profitability and the product quality.

The market is full of different feed additives working on the aspects latter to genetic improvement in breeders. For years antibiotics and specifically antibacterial have been used on a large scale to kick up revenues and cover up management flaws. Pumping in these drugs at these rates has resulted in the pathogenic bacteria being destroyed but also leads to the whole gastrointestinal micro floral balance instability. The era of misuse of antibiotics began. There are several views, as the use of antibiotics in livestock being good or bad. There are several reasons not to use antibiotics in livestock, the primary not being the antibiotic resistance but yes an important reason. Thus, apart from the common facts that using antibiotics may cause parallel resistance affecting human treatment regimes, it is also important for us to understand the foot print that antibiotics leave on the animal world.

The Livestock production arena is an amalgamation of bacterial opportunistic propagation driven entities. The race is already on between the eradication of these bacteria versus survival responses of these highly adaptive microbes. This is especially when we throw a cocktail of antibiotics on them. Every time zapping a bug with a new bullet does end the life of the bug, but also helps the bug to evolve a better armor, one that is non penetrable by the same bullet.  But why are we focusing on the bullet and not on the gun? Something that the bug may not even see, something that the bug is never exposed to!! The ideal route for restricting the excessive use of antibiotics is thus to improve the management practices on the farm which include impeccable bio-security. As this is not possible in all circumstances the use of anti-infective and growth promoters will always be used as a preventive and a treatment regime for under performing birds. However, we can always use a better trigger mechanism, there is middle way out. Why not use the natural responses of the bird itself fight the average management practices.

To improve the bird’s immunity and to overcome microbial challenges one should focus on certain specialised feed additives. The feed additive market carries an endless list of antibiotic re-placers which can be summarised in the categories of Acidifiers, Probiotics, Prebiotics and Phytobiotics. However, every trigger is only sensitive to a specific environment, a specific bacteria or a narrow mechanism of action. Acidifier resistance is well documented in recent literature, this with pH as low as 2.5 not proving effective against common taboo bacteria as salmonella. Probiotics work mainly in the finisher stages and farms still have to rely on antibiotics to curb the early chick mortality. Moreover, the probiotics work at variable dose with variable outcomes, some proving unsuitable to certain environments and ineffective in certain strains of poultry.  Prebiotics could have been an effective way to tackle the problem only if the cost and dosage would comply. Also there are various supportive nutrients fuelling the pathogenic bacteria in the gut which easily overcome prebiotics.  What the industry needs is something broad spectrum and natural. An effective Phytobiotic, and yes they work, but nobody wants to rely on a trigger that differs in sensitivity every time you are in a gunfight. What we really need is an effective and reliable Phytogenic antibiotic replacer which uses only standardised herbal Phytoconstituents as ingredients.