February 12, 2016

12/02/2016: Phytogenic feed additives: Keeping pace with trends and challenges in pig production


by Ester Vinyeta, Species Leader Swine and Kostas Syriopoulos, Customer Technical Service Swine, Delacon Biotechnik GmbH

First published in Milling and Grain, November 2015

As the global population and its prosperity are steadily on the rise, the animal protein demand will further increase in the near future. Pig meat is the most consumed meat worldwide among the others, closely followed by poultry. Last year it comprised 38 percent (or 118 Mt) of the total meat consumption whereas poultry meat accounted for 35 percent (or 110 Mt).

Though this growing demand is challenged – on the one hand by consumer’s awareness for safe food and on the other hand by sustainable and efficient swine production. At the same time, production costs should be kept as low as possible whilst controlling the high risk of developing drug resistant bacteria for humans due to the use of in-feed antibiotics, as antimicrobial growth promoters (AGP) or as disease treatment. Over the last decades, many feed additives have been developed and evaluated, within which phytogenic (plant derived) substances have attracted much attention.

Feed additives of natural origin

Plants have been used for many centuries in human culinary and medicine as flavor enhancer, preservatives and for their healing properties. Phytogenic feed additives (PFAs), also referred to as 'phytogenics', contain various natural active substances, such as essential oils, pungent and bitter substances, tannins and saponins that are solely derived from herbs, spices and other plants.

As such, PFAs are promising ingredients in a natural strategy to face today´s challenges in livestock production. At the same time, consumers recognise and accept them as safe alternative to widely used, therapeutic or prophylactic, medicines applied in animal production. Natural PFAs contain many active substances, which distinguish them among the other nature-identical products available on the market.

These blends of leading and secondary active components, in combination of mixtures of more than one plant based ingredient, have proven effectiveness in animal nutrition. Especially for swine, single PFAs and/or mixtures of them have been reported to improve piglet´s feed conversion ratio (FCR) by 1-4 percent. Effects in fatteners are even bigger.

Read the full article in Milling and Grain HERE

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