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Figure 3: Comparison of caecal bacterial content

ABE; this is a steady release throughout the gut of the animal. This is beneficial as it is known that fat digestion is not fully effective in the young animal, especially the piglet. Therefore for an ABE to be truly beneficial, it must be able to readily dissociate throughout the length of the digestive tract. Our studies on faecal and caecal microflora support this model as the lower gut microflora would not be affected unless the ABE was effective throughout the digestive tract.

* denotes significant difference at P<0.05

2006). It can therefore be suggested that an increased population of Lactobacillus in the gut can be used as a marker for good gut health, when used alongside performance and efficiency measures. Figure 3 shows the effect of feeding an OA blend (OAB) on the caecal microflora. The concentration of Lactobacillus was significantly increased and E. coli significantly decreased (P<0.05), correlating with an improvement in animal health and performance (unpublished, Anpario data). OA have recently been included in the category of eubiotics as they can be used in strategies to help the animal improve its health naturally, without the use of antibiotics.

Production of butyric acid Through positive modification of the gut microflora we see a significant shift to a more balanced and mature bacterial population at a younger age. We also see an increase in the production of butyric acid from the same diet with the use of a propionic and formic acid blend. Butyric acid is known to be beneficial to intestinal health through multiple modes of action, not limited to the stimulation in growth of enterocytes and increasing crypt depth, but also in its involvement in feed intake stimulation and gastric emptying (Mroz 2005). Butyric acid can also be directly used as an energy source by gut bacteria and when in excess by the animal. Enabling an increase in endogenous butyric acid production ensures it has the best opportunity to be beneficial to the microflora and ultimately the animal.

Carrier technology Anpario produce a range of acid based eubiotics (ABE) which have been developed for mill and feed hygiene as well as poultry and pig performance. They are based on formic and propionic acids incorporated onto unique blends of mineral carriers to ensure the acids remain active, yet are protected from damage and unwanted reactions during the mixing or pelleting process. Unprotected or free acids would readily react with nutrients in the feed and therefore are likely to damage vitamins or become inactive and are unable to dissociate easily in the digestive tract of the animal. Our carriers are also vital in the prebiotic nature of the ABE as they have been shown to be a site themselves for Lactobacillus proliferation (Jones and Bennett, 2014). This synergy between OA and our carriers is one of the things that make our acid based eubiotics unique. Over more than 10 years of research and development of ABE

ensures our products are protected but remain effective in the animal. Compared with fat and wax encapsulation, mineral carriers require no digestion or emulsification to ensure the release of the OA. When in contact with moisture and heat some acid will be released from the

Zinc oxide reduction strategies Recently the focus for ABE has been directed at strategies to reduce the use of zinc in weaning diets. Zinc oxide is commonly used from weaning for two weeks at 3kg/t of feed to help control post-weaning scours. However some products have shown efficacy in reducing the incidence of post weaning scours and E. coli concentration in the faeces of piglets. Following concerns over environmental pollution and reports of zinc related antimicrobial resistance, the EU has introduced a ban on the therapeutic use of zinc oxide in piglets, which will come into effect by 2022 (Yazdankhah et al., 2014). This has led to concern over the impact on animal performance and welfare, with suggested losses of up to €8.50/piglet/year. A holistic approach to piglet rearing must now be taken; sow health and biosecurity will be equally as important as nutrition and management, especially around the weaning period. The use of ABE at weaning has already been discussed, but products must be proven to be efficacious in a low zinc diet. A recent study carried out in 21 day old weaners evaluated the use of two ABE products (ABE1 and ABE2) in a zinc free diet and compared with a diet including zinc oxide (ZnO) at 3kg/t and a control (CON) receiving only the basal diet. All piglets were orally challenged with E. coli (ETEC) on day 8 to reflect the challenges seen in commercial weaning. Final body weight was significantly higher (P<0.05) with a difference of over 1.4kg in piglets receiving any of the three additives compared with the control, with both ABE products giving numerically heavier pigs over the ZnO treatment (unpublished, Anpario data). Figure 4 shows the average daily gain for the four treatments following 28 days on trial. ABE2 shows the highest daily gain which is significantly higher than CON (p<0.05) while ABE1 and ZnO show similar performance. These results show that the ABE tested can support optimum piglet performance in the absence of zinc oxide.

Figure 4: Average daily gain D1-28 following E. coli challenge

different letters denote significant difference at P<0.05

Summary Anpario eubiotics have been shown to be an effective natural support for beneficial gut microflora, thus reducing the need for pharmaceutical products and supporting optimum piglet performance.


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