One of the leading concerns of livestock farmers is Animal Feed. While there are many feed products popping up in the recent times, Feed Enzymes is one among the most effective ones. They are capable of increasing the digestibility of nutrients, which results in a greater efficiency in feed utilization. They can also degrade the unacceptable components in feed, which are otherwise very harmful and are of little or no value. Another notable benefit of feed enzymes is its positive impact on the environment by allowing better use of natural resources and reducing fecal nutrient level applied to land. The use of extrinsic feed enzymes in poultry diets is now becoming a compulsory norm to overcome the adverse effects of anti-nutritional factors and improve digestion in the intestinal tract and animal performance.
Enzymes are extremely effective biological catalysts which are capable of accelerating chemical reactions. The protein nature of enzymes has crucial implications for their stability during high-temperature feed manufacture and movement through the gastrointestinal tract. Due to their protein nature, they can be denatured by heat and pH and can also be subjected to proteolysis by digestive enzymes. With increasing enzyme concentration, the reaction rate increases due to greater availability of active sites and this process will continue until no more enzyme-substrate complex can be formed. Substrates in feed ingredients can be mainly classified into three groups as follows:
- Starch, Proteins, Lipids: Substrates for which animals produce suitable enzymes in their own digestive tract
- Cellulose: Substrate for which enzymes are not produced by the animal and cannot be digested by it
- β-glucans, Pentosans, Phytate: Substrates for which enzymes are not produced by the animal and, in addition to not being digested, have anti-nutritive effects
There are four distinct categories of enzyme products which are currently commercially available for use by the feed industry:
- Microbial phytases
- Glycanases targeting viscous cereals (E.g.: Wheat, Barley)
- Enzymes targeting non-viscous cereals (E.g.: Corn, Sorghum)
- Enzymes targeting non-cereals (E.g.: Soybean meal, Grain legumes)
With the exception of microbial phytases, most of the other enzyme products contain a mixture of enzymes that may be produced either by a single or multiple organisms. During the past decade, the use of microbial phytase in poultry diets has increased with the response to concerns over phosphorus pollution of effluents from intensive animal operations and the escalating price of inorganic phosphates. Limitations in enzyme responses are associated with three integral components, namely the enzyme, substrate, and the animal. Though there are great opportunities to enhance nutrient utilization with enzyme supplementation, there will be physiological limits to responses that are achievable. These limits are imposed by the pH and digestive enzyme retention time within the digestive tract. Nutritional strategies to overcome these limits, at least partially, need to be explored.
In the recent times, many developments have occurred in the area of biotechnology, specifically in areas of molecular biology and, fermentation and microbiological technologies. As a result, it is now possible to produce feed enzymes at a very cheaper price to promote their use in commercial diet formulations. Due to the advances in biotechnology, more effective enzyme preparations can now be produced in large quantities and are feasible. Some of the other notable advances in this field include the following:
- Specific enzymes are being developed which are designed to function optimally in the gastrointestinal tract of the animal to improve enzyme stability during the processing of commercial feeds
- Phosphorus excreted in manure can result in fresh water pollution, which is taxed in many countries. Phytase helps in resolving this problem when added to the feed at the correct dose. As a result, in recent years, microbial phytase has overtaken the glycanases as the primary feed enzyme worldwide
- Enzyme cocktails containing lipases, amylases, proteases, xylanases, and, corn-soy diets are now available and the use of such cocktails is receiving immense attention
- Use of whole flaxseed in poultry diets represents an additional area of research for effective enzyme development to mitigate potential negative effects of constituent Non-Starch Polysaccharide(NSP) components
- Highly bio-efficient phytases have been shown to quickly reduce the anti-nutrient effects of phytate in animal diets by degrading it, thereby increasing the availability of energy and amino acids to the animal. This offers producers the plausibility to reduce the cost of feed, especially when the price of energy and protein/amino acids in diets is high
The feed enzyme market is growing rapidly, largely in response to increasing raw material cost. The use of feed enzymes in poultry and pig feed formulations is expected to greatly increase in the near future and will be driven by on-going changes in the global animal production. Aquaculture and ruminant industries are emerging markets for extrinsic feed enzymes. Major companies in the global market are DuPont, DSM, BASF Corporation, Alltech, Novozymes and Adisseo France. Some of the other major players in the market include AB Enzymes GmbH, Advanced Enzymes Technologies Limited, Amano Enzyme Inc., Biovet JSC, Biocatalysts Ltd, Chr. Hansen Inc, Enmex Sa De Cv, Lesaffre Group, Rossari Biotech Limited, Shenzhen Leveking Bio-Engineering Co. Ltd. and Sunson Industry Group Company Ltd.
It is quite intriguing to know that even start-ups are interested in entering into this market, as they envisage a potential future. One such of this kind is Agrivida, a biotech startup in the animal nutrition industry. It’s a unique platform which is using corn plant as the factory, which offers a more cost-effective production system.
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