June 12, 2018

13/06/2018: Performance effect of combined microbial regulators in antibiotic free piglet feed

by AVEVE, Belguim

For a long time, antibiotics have been prophylactically used to overcome the influence of microbial imbalances and make piglets less sensitive for potential pathogens.

Nowadays, however, there is worldwide increasing pressure of regulations to reduce prophylactic as well as curative usage of antibiotics in farm animals. Microbial regulators – natural, moreover synergistically combined ingredients - are the most recently available alternatives of a step-by-step solution. 

Image credit: Richard King on Flickr
(CC BY 2.0)
Weaning dip – the foreseeable peril
Furthermore, high productivity requires an optimal intestinal health and immunity as production animals are pushed to their physical limits. Consequently, even the slightest intestinal imbalance can compromise top production. The weaning dip has been well researched and documented and as such can also be described as piglets being m5ore vulnerable for pathogens due to a lack of feed intake.

The absence of feed in a piglet's gut system results in a microbial imbalance, leading to higher occurrences of diseases. Thus, this short weaning phase in a pig's life can have far-reaching consequences, negatively affecting the pig's entire rearing period (see Figure 1). Strengthening the microbial gut flora and increasing feed intake includes the addition of medium-chain glycerides and essential oils, well balancing the intestinal microbial community and immune reactions, meanwhile enhancing proliferation of enterocytes. Such microbial regulators support piglets to maintain a healthier status, last but not least for better performance effects.

Medium-chain glycerides (MCGs) – The highly effective antibacterial compound
Medium-chain fatty acids are known to have an effect on bacterial growth. However, not all medium-chain fatty acids have the same effect, as some bacteria are sensitive to specific chain lengths of fatty acids. Caproic acid (C6:0) for instance, has a relatively strong effect against E. coli and salmonella strains – more than most other medium-chain fatty acids.

In combination with caprylic acid (C8:0 E. coli and salmonella are targeted. It has been shown that medium-chain fatty acids have a better microbial regulatory effect, reflected in their lower minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values than other organic acids.

Moreover, they target a broader spectrum of bacteria (both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria). Besides their acidic function, some medium-chain fatty acids, like caproic acid have lipophilic properties that they can dissolve in fats.

That way, they can disrupt cell membranes of pathogenic micro-organisms. When used in piglet feed, it is important to get the medium-chain fatty acids right there in the digestive system where they will be most effective. By esterifying the medium-chain fatty acids using glycerol they can be bound in glyceride molecules.

Lipases synthesised in mouth, stomach and gut will work on the esterified medium-chain fatty acids, respectively medium-chain glycerides, ensuring a gradual release (lipolysis) as opposed to free medium-chain fatty acid (MCFAs) products. Because of their 'slow-release' effect they will be effective in the stomach and continuing on in the digestive tract. The maximum release and efficacy will be in the small intestine.

Read the full article with figures, HERE.

The Global Miller
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which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

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