nzyme technology is an integraltool for the brewing, baking andtextile industries. In agriculturethere is great potential for enzymestoo but this is yet to be fully exploited.However, animal nutrition is one areain which the use of feed enzymes isbecoming increasingly important.
There are three driving factors in animalproduction that are leading to the develop-ment and adoption of feed enzyme technol-ogy. First, the world’s growing populationhas meant global demand for food and inparticular meat and meat products haveincreased substantially. In addition, produc-ers are also continually looking for novelmethods of increasing their efficiency andproductivity and the cost and availability of raw materials for animal feed is the secondfactor continuing price rises are a major con-straint to meeting demand. The third factor is concern over the environmental fragility of the planet and the pressure on agriculturalindustries to reduce their reliance on vitalresources.
Major ingredients in monogastricfeeds
The major ingredients used in mostmonogastric feeds are of vegetable originincluding ground cereals such as maize,wheat and barley or vegetable by-productssuch as wheat middlings and rice bran. Italso includes processed protein ingredientssuch as soybean, or rapeseed extractionsand unprocessed materials such as peas or beans. All these materials have a complexstructure of carbohydrates, protein and oiland the carbohydrates are further describedas sugars, starch and non-starch polysac-charides (NSP).Digging deeper, the NSP componentscan be further divided into beta-glucans,celluloses and pentosans. Indeed, many dif-ferent types of enzymes are secreted within the digestive tract but there are cases where the enzymes that are necessary for completedigestion are not produced by the animalor are only present at very low levels. Inmonogastric animals it is the enzymes thatare required to breakdown the NSP fractionof the diet that are missing.
Increasing feed value throughenzymes
The NSP fraction of barley and oats con- tains beta-glucans which can hold significantamounts of water causing high gut viscosity.Young pigs and poultry lack the requiredbeta-glucanase enzyme to break the link-ages of the molecule and this is a problembecause it has an anti-nutritionaleffect by blocking the absorptionof nutrients. Increased viscosity alsoreduces the rate of passage thuslowering feed intake with the endresult being reduced growth rates,feed conversion and the appar-ent metabolisable energy of thediet. Increased viscosity additionally results in wet litter which in poultry leads to conditions such as necroticenteritis, hock burns and breastblisters.Similarly in wheat, a commoncereal choice in temperate climates, the NSP fraction contains a highlevel of arabinoxylans. Xylanase is the enzyme that pigs and poultry require in order to break thesecompounds down but they arealso deficient in them and, it wasnot until the development of beta-glucanase and xylanase enzymes for animal feed in the 1980s, that thisissue was addressed. Now these enzymesare commonplace, certainly in Europe,where poultry diets are principally com-posed of wheat and barley.
Recent enzyme developments
More recently, positive effects in animalperformance have also been noted with‘non-viscous’ cereals such as maize and sor-ghum (Choct, 2006). The digestive systemin pigs differs slightly from poultry and theissue of increased viscosity from wheat andbarley is not a problem in these species. Theaddition of feed enzymes in pig diets hasalso demonstrated positive effects (Dierick and Decuypere, 1994) and it is recognised that beta-glucanases and xylanases are able to degrade plant cell wall which leads to arelease of nutrients from grain endosperm
Optimal temperature and pH propertiesfrom some fungal endoxylanases (adapted fromCorral and Villanseñor-Ortega, 2006)
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by Elizabeth Norton, nutritionist, Anpario plc, United Kingdom
fd milliG tcholoG18 | January - february 2013