Better Feed Efficiency Also Means Fewer Environmental Concerns
Posted in the Business News Forum
Since: Oct 12
#1 Jul 2, 2013
Environmental concerns, as well as rising costs of inorganic phosphate sources have motivated producers “to consider alternative strategies to reduce the total phosphorous concentrations in broiler diets,” Lee said.
The main strategy utilized to decrease the levels of phosphorus required in broiler diets is the use of enzymes that utilize the phosphorus in plant sources, such as corn and soybean, according to Lee.
A form of phosphorus called phytate can account for as much as 70 percent of the total phosphorus found in plants, he said. However, poultry do not have the ability to digest phytate. But ruminant animals such as beef cattle have bacteria in their rumens that naturally produce an enzyme called phytase that allows them to convert the phytate into organic phosphorus.
Phytase can be relatively cheaply and easily produced and added to poultry feed, but that solves only one aspect of the problem.
“Another anti-nutritive factor found in cereal grains used in broiler diets include the presence of non-starch polysaccharides – NSP, which are fibrous material found
in plant cell walls,” Lee said.“Chickens lack the digestive capacity of ruminant animals and the presence of NSP in the diet increases intestinal viscosity resulting in decreased digestibility of the diet.”
Fortunately, according to Lee, another enzyme, carbohydrase, can help increase
Digestibility of high fiber broiler diets. Both enzymes need be added at low rates, typically from 0.25 to 1 pound per ton of feed.
But a question remained: Which strains of the two enzymes were best combinations for chicken health and feed conversion efficiency?
To determine this, Lee has been conducting studies comparing how multiple levels of phytase affects the bio-availability of phytate with and without non-starch polysaccharides. The feed tested was a combination of corn and soybean meal with added vitamins and micronutrients – a standard poultry ration.
The relationship between the effects of the two enzymes turned out to be more complicated than expected. Non-starch polysaccharides increased the bioavailability of phosphorus but at only one of the three levels of phytase concentrations tested.
The results of his study will give commercial poultry producer’s information they need to fine-tune feed mixture to reduce phosphorus runoff from chicken litter without endangering flock health, Lee said.
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