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‘No antibiotics’ means increased need for emulsification


A disbalanced microflora has an important negative effect on digestibility. To counteract this, the activity of a nutritional emulsifier should be considered. This additive does not only save costs but also supports flocks with intestinal health issues.


BY BRECHT BRUNEEL, CENTRAL TECHNICAL MANAGER, ORFFA, THE NETHERLANDS R


earing animals in antibiotic-free systems is a chal- lenge. A big question is how to deal with increased pathogenic pressure and optimise gut health. When disbalanced, the microflora can have a big impact


on the digestibility of nutrients. Fat digestibility, in particular, will be affected to a large extend by bacteria that impair the function of bile acids, vital components of the fat digestibility apparatus. These bacteria are more pronounced in disbal- anced gastrointestinal tracts and form a threat, especially when the usage of antibiotics is limited. Low fat digestibility will imply a loss of energy which will not be available for growth. To counteract this suboptimal situation a nutritional emulsifier can be added to the diet. This additive does not only save costs in healthy animals but also supports flocks with intestinal health issues.


Bile acids as natural emulsifiers Fat digestion is to a large extend dependent on bile acids,


Figure 1 - Conjugation with taurine or glycine to form a conjugated, active bile salt.


NH H2O O NH2 OH OH NH2


Conjugation site


OH OH


Hydrophobic Hydrophylic


GLYCINE O


OH


TAURINE O O


S OH


Rearing animals in antibiotic-free systems is a challenge. The big question is how to deal with increased pathogenic pressure and optimise gut health.


next to pancreatic lipase and colipase. Bile acids, synthesised in liver cells, will act at the lipid/water interface and help in the formation of micelles, sphere-like aggregates of fat in wa- ter. Bile acid-containing micelles augment the activity of li- pase towards the digestion of lipids. Prior to secretion in the intestine, conjugation with taurine or glycine takes place in liver cells to form conjugated bile acids (Figure 1). Only conju- gated bile acids are able to act efficiently as an emulsifier. The unconjugated forms are insoluble in water due to their specif- ic molecular structure and subsequent acid-base properties. They will be excreted in faeces. Both commensal, symbiotic and pathogenic intestinal bacteria are capable of hydrolysing the amide bond and remove glycine and taurine. Clostridium perfringens, for example, was shown to express high levels of the bile salt hydrolase enzyme. When hydrolysed, the bile salt is in its unconjugated form and loses its ability to act as a nat- ural emulsifier, resulting in a decreased fat digestion.


Imbalanced microflora and its effect on fat digestibility The influence of microbiota, antibiotics and conjugated bile acid concentration on the adsorption of fat was investigated in broilers (Table 1). The group without antibiotics showed high numbers of C. perfringens in the small intestine and low- er amounts of conjugated bile acids. Lower amounts of conju- gated bile acids reduced the absorption of fatty acids and fat soluble compounds (e.g. α-tocopherol). Lipase activity was also assessed and shown to be decreased in antibiotic free birds, suggesting an effect of the conjugated bile salts on the activity of lipase. The same trend was observed in another trial (Table 2). In this study the effect of the microbiota on the conjugated bile acid


96 ▶ GUT HEALTH | DECEMBER 2020


PHOTO: ORFFA


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