Bovine herpes virus type 1) were reduced by the presence of additives based on a blend of medium chain fatty acids. “Most” of the four viruses were mitigated by a Novus product containing a blend of organic acids and an analogue of the amino acid methionine (analogues HMTBa and HMTBa-Ca are authorised feed additives in the EU). However, the research- ers note that “further studies are warranted to assess the mechanism of action of those products and to assess their ef- ficacy following natural ingestion of contaminated and miti- gated feed.” Methionine is available in several forms for live- stock feed: DL-Methionine (DL-Met, considered the ‘standard’ methionine source), liquid methionine hydroxy analogue-free acid, calcium salt of hydroxy analogue of methionine, and L-Methionine (L-Met), which became available on the market about a year ago. Recent research has found that “DL-Met and L-Met are equally bioavailable as methionine sources that can be used to optimise the performance, gut integrity and antioxidant status of pigs.”

New and novel In terms of other new developments in supplements for liquid feeds, Huber points to the work to her Master’s stu- dent Michelina Crosbie, who is studying the digestibility of Black Soldier Fly larvae meal, which could be used as a sup- plement in both liquid and dry feeds. “There is evidence that it can provide gut health benefits for pigs on early nursery diets,” says Huber, “and therefore partly serve as a


replacement for in-feed anti-microbials.” The meal contains lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that’s been shown, like other acids, to promote gut health. It also contains chi- tin, from the insect exoskeleton, which can also help create a healthy gut microbiome. Huber would like to see nursery pigs receive liquid feed after weaning, but notes that this is costly and not a lot of barns worldwide are set up for this. Bebber also believes liquid feed has “huge advantages” for neonatal or suckling pigs that are too weak to eat or breast- feed, or for sick animals that stop eating solid foods but keep drinking. He notes that typically, these pigs benefit the most from antibiotic-replacement ingredients such as yeast and yeast derivatives, “as these supplements help to im- prove the health, well-being and performance of animals. Yeast Mannan Oligosaccharides (MOS) and beta-glucans are most beneficial for animals that are exposed to stressful conditions or in a poor health state. They are also used prophylactically in healthy populations.” Bebber adds that since the ban on antibiotic growth-promoters in Europe, there has been a significant increase in the use of these derivatives in pig feed.

Looking ahead, Bebber and his colleagues “furthermore be- lieve that the importance of scientific understanding of the composition, molecular structure and mode of action of such supplements will increase, because [this understanding] allows much more targeted and efficient use.”

▶ ALL ABOUT FEED | Volume 28, No. 3, 2020

Feed additives such as acids, probiotics and phytogenics in both dry or liq- uid form have gained more attention after producers started seeking alternatives to antibiotics.

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