Achieving Next Generation Feed Conversion

Photo: iStock/RomoloTavani

The key to addressing many of the current challenges facing the poultry industry is better feed efficiency. Feed conversion improvement is tied to a host of modern production issues, including profitability, improving the low digestibility of alternative feed ingredients, reducing antibiotics, counteracting stressors, and overcoming environmental challenges.

In further confirming its pivotal role, 1140 industry respondents in 100 countries indicated that enhanced feed efficiency or a better feed conversion ratio (FCR) was the most important potential benefit of phytogenics to their operation, as captured by the BIOMIN 2017 Phytogenic Feed Additives Survey.

The next generation

At BIOMIN, improving feed efficiency has been the main thrust of our research and product development around phytogenics in recent years. We have built upon the Digestarom® product line, which dates back to 1989, and recently introduced Digestarom® DC which is the next generation phytogenic feed additive designed to deliver improved feed intake, better performance and optimized feed conversion.

What’s new?

Digestarom® DC represents decades of achievement in research and development. BIOMIN has developed a special encapsulation technology for essential oils and phytogenic active compounds: the Biomin® Duplex Capsule. As the first of its kind in the phytogenics market, the Biomin® Duplex Capsule combines two encapsulation techniques: matrix and core-shell encapsulation. It offers four key advantages: 1) better thermostability, 2) continuous delivery of active substances, 3) targeted, controlled release and 4) better handling. Customers already familiar with our species-specific Digestarom® solutions and the multi-species Digestarom® P.E.P. line will find that Digestarom® DC offers the best of both.

1. Better thermostability

Essential oils and their active compounds in particular are highly volatile and heat sensitive—less than ideal characteristics in the context of modern feed production and pelleting. The Biomin® Duplex Capsule structure gives Digestarom® DC enhanced pelleting stability up to 95°C, as shown by the percentage of product recovered after conditioning in a cascade mixer with steam addition at different temperatures for 30 seconds, followed by pelleting for another 20-30 seconds (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Biomin® Duplex Capsule demonstrates pelleting stability in common conditions
Source: BIOMIN

2. Continuous delivery

The new technology results in double capsules with a uniform and narrow size distribution ranging from 120 to 500 m, allowing for more homogeneous distribution of active compounds in Digestarom® DC and in the feed—meaning continuous delivery of active substances in the animals.

3. Targeted, controlled release

With core-shell encapsulation, a protective coat surrounds a core comprising essential oils and active compounds. In Digestarom® DC, the coat and core contain different essential oils for appetizing and gut modulation modules. Both layers are matrix encapsulated —meaning that the active compounds are finely dispersed in a solidified matrix— providing a targeted, controlled release along the gastrointestinal tract.

The particles in Digestarom® DC have a very high essential oil content compared to other commercially available products. Figure 2 illustrates how the Biomin® Duplex Capsule permits delivery of essential oils where they are needed in an in vitro gastrointestinal model.

Figure 2. In vitro simulated release of essential oil actives of Digestarom® DC
Source: BIOMIN

4. Better handling

Thanks to the Biomin® Duplex Capsule, Digestarom® DC has a shelf life of 18 months, reduced dustiness and improved handling. While certain commercially available phytogenic feed additives have a high dusting potential of up to 20 g/m³ according to the Stauber-Heubach test, an acknowledged and official method for testing dusting potential, the corresponding value for Digestarom® DC is 1.6-2.4 g/m³.

Triple action formulation

The triple action formulation of Digestarom® DC exploits the advantages of the Biomin® Duplex Capsule to optimize feed conversion. The three modules – 1) appetizing and endogenous secretions, 2) gut microbiota modulation, 3) gut protection – are formed to optimize feed conversion (Figure 3).

Figure 3. The Biomin® Duplex Capsule and triple action formulation of Digestarom® DC

Trial results

Recent trial results in Cobb 500 Standard broilers demonstrate the ability of Digestarom® DC to improve performance. Over 42 days, birds fed Digestarom® DC supplemented diets showed a statistically significant improvement in body weight gain (2.470 kg) versus birds fed the control diet (2.353 kg), as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4. Digestarom® DC improves average body weight gain in broilers
a,b Different superscripts represent statistically significant differences (p<0.05)
Source: University trial in broilers, Southern Europe, Summer 2016

Similarly, a difference was observed in the feed conversion ratios (FCR) of the two groups: 1.72 for control versus 1.69 for the Digestarom® DC group, as shown in Figure 5. Overall, Digestarom® DC supplementation resulted in a 2.83% increase in feed intake, a 4.96% increase in weight gain and a 1.75% decrease in FCR. The efficiency gains translate into direct economic benefits producers.

Figure 5. Digestarom® DC improves feed conversion ratio (FCR) in broilers
A,B Different superscripts represent tendency towards statistical difference (p<0.1);
Note: Cobb 500 Standard at 42d: 1.675 kg/kg
Source: University trial in broilers, Southern Europe, Summer 2016