Multi-enzyme complexes revolutionise poultry diets

08-04 | |
One of the biggest limitations when it comes to feed and feed efficiency is nutrient digestibility. Photo: Alltech
One of the biggest limitations when it comes to feed and feed efficiency is nutrient digestibility. Photo: Alltech

With increased consumer demand for low-cost protein and a growth forecast of 1.5-2% for the global poultry market (Rabobank 2023), poultry producers will continue looking to optimise production efficiency. Multi-enzyme complexes can be used to enhance nutrient use and reduce feed costs.

Given that feed costs represent the biggest input for producers at about 70%, promoting feed efficiency is key and can significantly benefit live production costs and overall profitability. One of the biggest limitations when it comes to feed and feed efficiency is nutrient digestibility.

Considering that approximately 25% of typical feedstuffs are undigestible, this represents a significant nutrient and calorific waste which can lower animal performance and profitability, and also damage the environment.

Improving digestibility

Poultry rations have many different compositions based on the availability and cost of different raw ingredients. Feed ingredients also differ in their percentage of non-starch polysaccharides (NSPs). These are complex carbohydrates (not including starch and sugar) that make up a large proportion of the dietary fibre fraction but are poorly digested by birds. Enzymes can aid in breaking down these NSPs but different NSPs require different enzymes. Commercially-available enzymes are typically targeted for either reduced phosphorus excretion (phytases), better utilisation of carbohydrates (carbohydrase), or improved protein utilisation (proteases). Multiple substrates would thus require multiple enzymes

Enzymes play a key role in the animal’s digestive process. Although digestive enzymes are produced by the animal itself – or by naturally occurring microbial organisms in its digestive system – feed producers have also added exogenous enzymes to their feeds for many years. Exogenous enzymes are protein-based molecules that convert the undigestible components of feed into more accessible forms. They improve nutrient uptake to benefit performance, formulation flexibility and ration cost.

Enzyme innovations

With many single enzymes regularly added to poultry diets, it may be advantageous to simplify the process by using a product with multiple enzymes that can work together in the diet. In recent years, Alltech has put significant effort into researching enzyme technology with the aim of producing technologies that can further enhance nutrient release, by targeting multiple substrates.

Allzyme Spectrum is the newest addition to the company’s line-up of multi-enzyme technologies. It is designed to optimise nutrient utilisation in poultry by breaking down key substrates found in the diet, including NSPs and phytic acid. Compared to other enzymes on the market, Allzyme Spectrum goes further by aiding nutrient uptake from alternative raw materials as well as conventional feedstuffs. This makes diet formulation more flexible and thus saves on feed costs. It also protects the environment by reducing the volume of nutrients being excreted.

Efficacy in layers and broilers

When used in layer diets Allzyme Spectrum has been shown to increase egg weight, resulting in improved case weight, while decreasing feed cost. Ao and others also looked at the effects of including the multi-enzyme in diets with reduced metabolisable energy (ME), calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P). The study found that there was no significant difference in hen day production percentage, egg weight, egg breaking strength and shell percentage between the treatment groups. This indicates that when supplemented with the product, even low-nutrient diets with reduced levels of metabolisable energy, calcium and phosphorus, can support the performance of hens during peak production (Table 1).

An evaluation of growth performance in pullets at 16 weeks of age clearly showed that adding the multi-enzyme to their diets can improve their growth performance. This is particularly true when diets are low in ME, Ca and P. It is also more effective than supplementing with only a phytase enzyme in low Ca and P diets (IPSF 2022).

Several studies have also looked at the results of adding Allzyme Spectrum to broiler diets. Research presented at a 2021 Poultry Science Association (PSA) meeting showed that formulating this multi-enzyme complex in a diet with reduced ME, Ca and P resulted in better weight gain and a lower feed-to-gain ratio in broilers, such that their performance was equal to broilers on an unreduced reference diet.

Research by Megan Bauer at the University of Kentucky in the US found that dietary supplementation with the multi-enzyme optimised the growth performance of broiler chickens fed a wheat-soy-based diet with reduced nutrients (PSA 2022). In a later study looking at the effect of the enzyme complex in a low-nutrient corn-soy diet on nutrient digestibility of broilers, Bauer (2023) reported an increase in apparent metabolisable energy, nitrogen-corrected apparent metabolisable energy (AMEn), improved nutrient utilisation and improved apparent ileal amino acid (AA) digestibility. This demonstrated the positive effects of this multi-enzyme approach in different rations (wheat/soy and corn/soy).

Pelleting stability

Allzyme Spectrum can also be incorporated into either mash or pelleted diets (Rondon 2021; Nunes 2021, Table 2). Nunes reported that in either mash or pelleted feed, diets reformulated with the addition of Allzyme Spectrum provided similar results for weight gain up to 42 days.

Birds fed pelleted diets reformulated with Allzyme Spectrum also showed greater duodenal and jejunal crypt width and a greater jejunal absorption area which can enhance overall intestinal health and nutrient absorption. Several commercially-available enzymes have also been shown to decrease viscosity and optimise the rate of feed passage through the bird’s digestive system which can prevent the proliferation of certain harmful bacteria.

Efficient, profitable and sustainable

To minimise feed costs and environmental impact, it is crucial to maximise feed digestibility and utilisation. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is by using multi-enzyme products or enzyme complexes that can target multiple substrates. This approach simplifies feed formulation and management while ensuring that animal performance is not compromised.

Studies have shown that multi-enzyme complexes can efficiently enhance the energy return and phosphorus release from animal feed. Moreover, this approach supports optimal digestion and nutrient absorption, leading to cost savings and reduced nutrient excretion. This is a highly sustainable and efficient approach to feed production, with both economic and environmental benefits. Overall, multi-enzyme products such as Allzyme Spectrum are helping to create a more efficient, profitable and sustainable poultry industry.

*References available on request.

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