Biotechnology is the application of technologies, such as recombinant DNA techniques, biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, genetics and genetic engineering, and cell fusion techniques etc.

Using living organisms or its products, • to manufacture industrial products including antibiotics, insulin, and interferon, • to improve plants or animals, • to develop microorganisms for specific uses, • to identify targets for pharmaceutical development, • to transform biological systems into useful processes and products or • to develop organisms for specific uses.

Biotech and Animal Feeds… The largest impact of biotechnology on livestock production is increasing the livestock feeds through improving nutrient content as well as the digestibility of low quality feeds through use of efficient feed additives.

Its attention in two areas, 01) Development of genetically modified feed ingredients in order to nutritionally enhance and improve the production capabilities. 02) Improve certain feed ingredients which have inherently low nutritional capabilities like high fiber, antinutritive factors, low protein, and deficiency of certain amino acids through the addition of feed additives

Some of the limitations which the nutritionist face during feed formulation are the antinutritive factors like trypsin inhibitors, saponins, tannins, phytates, oxalates, high fiber, limitation of phosphorus content etc in feed. Developing genetically modified feed having improved nutritional values could solve these problems.

Nutritional Improvements

Value added feed stuff

Feed additives

– Value added feed stuff
• • • • • Low phytate corn High oil corn Low oligosaccharide soybean Soybeans with high lysine GM crops with improved amino acid profiles

•Low phytate corn: All plant feed ingredients contain natural phosphorus, which is only 30 % available, and the rest 70 % is in the form of phytate phosphorus. Grains with low phytate phosphorus and high available phosphorus were made •High oil corn:. This variety contains 87 % higher crude oil fat and 3.3% higher crude protein compared to typical corn. Feeding studies with high oil corn on broilers shows -Significant improvement in body weight & feed conversion. -Less abdominal fat -Better feed to egg ratio. -Egg yolks contained increased levels of linoleic acid and oleic acid.

•Low oligosaccharide soybean: Soybeans contain raffinose and stachyose the oligosaccharides, which act as antinutritive factors. Genetically modified soybeans with low oligosaccharides gave an increased 3% in amino acid digestibility and 5 % increased in dry matter digestibility. •Soybeans with high lysine: Increased lysine content from 3 % to 4.5 % It reduce the supplemental addition of lysine in diets. •GM crops with improved amino acid profiles Great potential to decrease nitrogen excretion in poultry.

-Feed additives
Adding specific nutrients to feed improves animal digestion and thereby reduces feed costs. A lot of feed additives are being currently used and new concepts are continuously developed. Enzymes Pro-biotic Pre-biotic Dietary amino acids Toxin Binders Minerals and Vitamins Bypass proteins Metabolic modifiers


Enzymes are biological catalysts and they improve the nutrient availability from feedstuffs, lower feed costs and reduce out put of waste into the environment. 01) Microbial phytase as the result of biotechnology is an enzyme that breaks down the indigestible phytic acid (phytate) in cereals and oilseeds and releases digestible phosphorus.

This reduces the use of expensive supplemental inorganic phosphorus like dicalcium phosphate. Phytase also releases minerals (Ca, Mg, Zn and K), amino acids and proteins, which are complied with the Phytate molecule. 02) Concentrate feed pellets could be made by incorporating cellulase,pectinace and xylanase with straw, bagasse and other agricultural waste.

Probiotics can help to build up the beneficial bacteria in the intestine and competitively exclude the pathogenic bacteria. These bacteria also release enzymes, which help in the digestion of feed.

The common organisms in probiotic products are Aspergillus oryzae, Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, L.plantarium, Bifidobacterium bifidium, Streptococcus lactis and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Can be administered through water or incorporated in the feed. Useful in the early stages of chick growth since the gut of the newly hatched chick is sterile Helps to build up beneficial bacteria much faster than the normal course.

Some of the prebiotics, which are currently used in animal feed, are Mannan-oligosaccharides (MOS), fructo-oligosaccharide and mixed oligo-dextran. Mannan-oligosaccharides are mainly obtained from cell walls of yeasts. Other sources of MOS are copra or palm kernel meal. The advantages of prebiotics are that it can stand high palletizing temperatures in the feed and also have a long shelf life.

•Dietary amino acids
•Essential amino acids are added as supplement to the feed to get a balanced amino acid profile. •The new trend is to formulate diets on digestible amino acid levels thereby reducing the requirement of protein. •Lysine is produced by microbial fermentation and methionine is chemically synthesized to add as supplement . •Genetically enhanced micro-organisms are being used to produce threonine and tryptophan on a commercial basis. •Using all these amino acids it is possible to lower dietary crude protein level by 2 – 3 %, which is a substantial saving for the farmer..

Toxin Binders
Present day methods are generally use of organic acids and their salts like propionic acid or adsorbents like bentonites, zeolites, hydroxyl aluminosilicates. In the future, biotechnology based products like microbes, herbal extracts or esterified glucomannan could be used. Aqua extracts of garlic, onion, turmeric, neem have been shown to exert antifungal activity or inhibit aflatoxin production.

•Minerals and Vitamins
The absorption and availability of inorganic trace minerals varies depending upon the nature of the minerals (sulphate, oxide or carbonate), their solubility, ionization etc. Trace minerals are now being attached to oligopeptides to make them more bioavailable. Commercial preparations of proteinated selenium and chromium are used in poultry. In the case of vitamins due to varying availability and stability of vitamins in ingredients supplemental vitamins are incorporated in diets. These vitamins are much more stable than naturally occurring forms.

•Metabolic modifiers
Metabolic modifiers are a group of compounds that modify animal metabolism in specific and directed ways. They have the overall effect of Improving productive efficiency (weight gain or milk yield per feed unit) Improving carcass composition (lean:fat ratio) in growing animals, Increasing milk yield in lactating animals and Decreasing animal waste per production unit (NRC 1994)  Two classes of compounds have received major focus, 1. Somatotropins (STS) and 2. Adrenergic agonists.

Commercially these compounds are produced by the use of recombinant DNA technology to selectively produce specific components for a species The most common somatotropin is the bovine somatotropin (bST) which is administered to dairy cows. Similarly somatotropins have also been used in pigs which resulted in greater nutrient use. Administering of β adrenergic agonist components lead to improved feed conversion ratio, daily weight gain and carcass leanness (NRC 1994). These components induce changes in endocrine and cellular mechanism.


•Increase the digestibility of low quality feeds through use of efficient feed additives. •Developing genetically modified grains with improved nutritional values avoid limitations of antinutritive factors like trypsin inhibitors, saponins, tannins, phytates, oxalates and high fiber content and limitation of phosphorus content during feed formulation •Less phosphorus would be thrown in the litter and manure, which would lead to the control of eutrophication.

•If phytase enzyme used in poultry, aquaculture integrated farmers are benefiting in controlling the algal bloom due to the reduction in ground water phosphorus levels. •Also it reduces the use of expensive supplemental inorganic phosphorus such as dicalcium phosphate. •Reduce the cost of animal feed. •Increased milk yields, improved productive efficiency (milk/feed) and decreased animal waste.

• The inclusion of genetically modified feedstuffs in animal feed could also pose certain risks. GM plants are produced by transferring foreign genes of particular characteristics into feed grain crops. • For example introducing antibiotic resistant marker genes may render common infectious diseases untreatable or certain proteins may cause allergic reactions to animals and humans. • Hence proper lab, field assessments as well as health assessments have to be made before release of such plants for commercial cultivation.

• High cost of the enzymes. Due to enzymes attract import duty, making their usage expensive. There are very few companies producing enzymes due to lack of technology

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