Phytogenic feed additives have a range of properties that support livestock production, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and nutrient absorption-enhancing effects, and can help prevent problems such as scours in pigs. But understanding how to combine phytogenics–and what to provide to animals in each stage of production–is key to maximizing their benefits
Phytogenic feed additives have a range of properties that support livestock production, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and nutrient absorption-enhancing effects, and can help prevent problems such as scours in pigs. But understanding how to combine phytogenics–and what to provide to animals in each stage of production–is key to maximizing their benefits.
Phytogenic feed additives are mixtures of plant-derived material containing active ingredients that can be considered as part of secondary plant metabolites. These secondary metabolites are generally produced by plants for three reasons:
- They play an important role in protecting the plant from both abiotic and biotic stress.
- They are needed by the plant to attract different pollinators.
- They play an important role for the defense of the plant itself.
In fact, some of these metabolites can help against herbivores (for example, repellants or because they are toxic to the organisms), but also against different microbes (by inhibiting the growth of the microbes or reducing their virulence). They are also important in helping the plant compete against other plants, such as when they inhibit germination of an adjacent plant or inhibit the growth of seedlings.
The role of phytogenics in animal nutrition
Phytogenics are known to have a range of biologically active properties that are beneficial in modern livestock production, including antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and nutrient absorbtion-enhancing effects. According to results of the BIOMIN Phytogenic Feed Additives Survey, we have a clear picture of the reasons that nutritionists, growers, business owners, veterinarians and consultants use or recommend the application of phytogenic feed additives in animal diets
Top reasons for applying phytogenic feed additives:
- Digestibility enhancement
- Antimicrobial effects
- AGP replacement strategy
- Growth promotion
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Good past experience
- Better feed conversion ratio
- Higher feed intake
Source: BIOMIN Phytogenic Feed Additives Survey
Commodity vs. innovative value proposition
These secondary metabolites can be very versatile in their modes of action, and their characteristics can help improve and support animal production. The raw materials used for phytogenic feed additives can be bought as commodities. However, the level of active substances in these commodities naturally varies, so it’s important to have strict purchasing and quality control guidelines in place to ensure that the supplement delivers the expected results.
Simplicity comes at a cost to feed producers. Although individual phytogenic feed additives can be useful, research has documented additional benefits of specific combinations of active plant-based substances. Scientifically formulated, more complex products typically outperform single ingredients when it comes to encouraging feed intake, supporting gut performance and delivering a return on investment.
At BIOMIN, the fundamental concept when formulating phytogenics feed additives is to consider the interaction between various active compounds and identifying the correct combination to best support feed and animal producers at the specific production phase for each species.
This requires an important investment in terms of time, money and other resources into research and development. Only this ensures a better understanding of these dynamics and allows producers of phytogenic feed additives to offer the best and most cost-effective solutions for the market.
Recently our cutting-edge Digestarom® DC technology received approval as a zootechnical feed additive from the European Commission. This is a major achievement for the company as the results that can be achieved with the product were validated by external bodies and they agreed that the product works and consistently delivers the expected results. The process to get such a registration is quite laborious and long and there are still just a few companies who have been successful with the process. BIOMIN is the only feed additive producer offering EU authorized solutions for both mycotoxin risk management and phytogenics.
Withstanding feed processing
The Duplex Capsule (DC) technology is extremely important when it comes to the application of some of the most used phytogenic compounds used in the animal industry e.g. oregano oil and its derivative compounds. In fact, one of the characteristics of essential oils is that they are the volatile and degrade when exposed to high temperatures. The unique DC encapsulation technology ensures that these volatile compounds are protected during pelletization, extrusion or expansion.
BIOMIN has a long track record in the market
At BIOMIN we have a long history with phytogenic feed additives. Our experience dates back more than 30 years and we have been serving the markets with the best available products. Our products are sold all over the world with great success. We have loyal customers and we constantly strive to understand their challenges in animal production to improve and further develop our product concepts.
Understanding production challenges is key
Understanding bet practices in animal production and the challenges related to operations all over the world are key to develop the right products. Our experience shows that although it would be ideal to have one solution for all species and all phases, it is almost impossible to find a product that can do it all, especially if one wants to be cost-effective. The reason for this is related to the different challenges that an animal undergoes in the different phases of production.
Consider as an example swine production, where the challenges facing a newborn piglet differ considerably to the challenges faced by a finisher pig or a sow. For this reason, our priority has always been understanding the dynamics of animal production. For a newborn piglet many problems could occur: chilling, failure of colostrum intake, diarrhea, birth defects and crushing
Clearly some of these problems cannot be solved by a phytogenic feed additive or any other nutritional strategy—these require management solutions. However, certain issues can be addressed by using the correct feed additive at the right time with the right dosage
- These are just a few examples of how BIOMIN approaches the development of phytogenic feed additives. It is important to make sure that the market is understood and that there is a clear exchange of information between customers and producers. Only this can guarantee that products available address market needs and satisfy customers’ expectations.