Digital Re-print - July | August 2011

Greater gains from phytase through improved formulation

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FEATURE

FEATURE

Figure 2 – Impact of phytase addition on cation digestibility in pigs a) Phosphorus, calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium b) Copper, zinc

benefit now recognised as being extremely important nutritionally, with the potential to add further economic value to phytase use even at standard (non-superdosing) levels of inclusion if accounted for during diet formulation. To demonstrate the extent of the effect, he presented an initial set of matrix values for amino acids for AB Vista’s phytase enzyme, Quantum® (at 500ftu/kg diet, as measured at pH 5.5), shown in Figure 1.

Strongest for cysteine, glycine, serine, threonine and proline, the effect varied considerably between individual amino acids. Associate Professor Cowieson noted in particular the lower responses for methionine and lysine, which are typically well digested even in the absence of phytase. It was clear that the incorporation of these additional effects of phytase enzymes – generally the result of improved diges-

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tive efficiency due to phytate destruction – would be of value to the majority of pig and poultry producers. However, incorporation into commercial diet formulations would not be straightforward. In addition to the effects on amino acid digestibility presented by Associate Professor Cowieson, the potential for improved availability of a wide range of mineral cations was high-

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As Mr Cooper outlined, the industry has produce more food, more sustainably, from previously concentrated primarily on the less land.” Highlighting the value of just one of the potential to release phosphorus bound to extra-phosphoric effects of phytase enzymes phytates in plant-derived feedstuffs. However, he claimed that the future (that is in addition to the release of phosphorus held increased use of phytase enzymes for from plant phytates), Associate Professor Aaron phytate destruction through ‘superdosing’ Cowieson of the University of Sydney, discussed (>1500 FTU phytase/kg diet as meas- the impact on amino acid digestibility. It is a ured at pH3.0), environmental protection (for example reduced mineral excretion), animal welfare (e.g. improved bone strength) and feed processing improvements (for example increased pelleting throughput). “As for the future, we can’t stand still,” he stated. “The animal food industry Figure 1 – Matrix values for improved amino acid digestibility is under a lot from phytase use (Quantum®) of pressure to
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That was the message received loud and clear by delegates at the 1st International Phytase Symposium held in Washington DC at the end of September 2010, with AB Vista managing director Richard Cooper suggesting that another US$2bn of benefit could still be available to the feed and animal production industries. “The phytase enzyme market is one of the massive success stories of the last two decades – it’s a US$350m market generating a benefit to the animal feed industry worth US$2bn globally,” he stated. “But I believe we’re now at a point of change, and the destruction of phytate in monogastric diets could be worth another US$2bn to the industry.” The IPS was jointly hosted by AB Vista, Massey University, the University of Maryland and the University of Sydney, and brought together scientists from all aspects of phytase research, development and application. A wide range of topics were presented and discussed, but it was the opportunity to make better use of the current commercially available phytase enzymes that took centre stage on the second day of the symposium.
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FEATURE

Figure 3 – Impact of dietary calcium level on mineral cation digestibility response to phytase Figure 4 – Value of superdosing with phytase (Quantum®) in pig starter diets

different minerals. Using data from trials feeding diets containing different levels of dietary calcium, he demonstrated that not only did digestibility response to phytase vary for each of the minerals examined, but that the nature of the trend differed also. However, it was AB Vista technical manager Dr Rob ten Doeschate who best summarised the extent of the challenges facing nutritionists wanting to fully incorporate the benefits of phytase enzymes into commercial diets. Reminding delegates that current diet formulation techniques rely on the nutrient levels within feed ingredients being both linear and additive, he stated: “This is a really big assumption.” In fact, the effect of phytase addition on nutrient release was not linear (as demonstrated by Figure 2), and probably not additive, he claimed, with a number of key interactions (for example the dietary calcium level effect shown in Figure 3) also having a substantial impact on the level of response. It was also highly probable that the combined effects when phytase is used alongside other feed enzymes (for example xylanase) is also not additive. Dr ten Doeschate went on to explain a number of techniques currently used to help overcome these limitations, although it was generally accepted that ongoing research would, in time, illuminate the finer details of many of

inclusion of more feed ingredients than would perhaps be expected. Even using the only matrix values for improved phosphorus digestibility, the extra ‘space’ in the ration – created by not having to add as much inorganic phosphorus – allowed inclusion of a greater proportion of lower-specification, and hence lower-cost, energy feeds. The result was a value, in terms of cost savings, that came from substantially more than just phosphorus. Typical changes included a reduction in oil and fat content, with a corresponding increase in cereal inclusion, and initial investigations had shown that savings available from using a full phytase matrix (incorporating values for improved amino acid and energy digestibility) could be two or three times higher than those achieved with the current mineral-only matrix. “So is phytase a mineral enzyme or something else?” questioned Dr ten Doeschate.

Superdosing
The emergence of superdosing was the other big step towards increased economic benefit from phytase use, and IPS delegates were shown data confirming the extra value available. There were typically three options, Dr ten Doeschate explained, the first of which was to maximise the growth promoting benefits of phytate destruction, using the extra nutrient digestibility to boost performance (see Figure 4a). An alternative was to minimise ration cost for the same performance, using the improved digestibility to match existing diet specifications (see Figure 4b). The third option was to take the middle ground between these two extremes. Already being used commercially, superdosing in starter diets allowed the use of cheaper plant-derived protein sources such as soyabean meal to replace more expensive animal-derived feed ingredients. The inclusion of plasma, whey, milk and fishmeal naturally lowers the phytate level in young pig diets (animal tissues contain only small traces of phytate), but it is an effect that can now be more cost-effectively achieved by using high doses of phytase to destroy the phytate in plant-derived feed materials. “It is not as easy as it sounds,” concluded Dr ten Doeschate when summing up the challenges being faced in formulating diets to make better use of phytase. But the economic benefits to be gained from improved performance or reduced diet costs appear to be substantial, and improved matrix values and superdosing are already a reality. For the delegates at the IPS, it was clear that phytase enzymes have a very bright future. Further research and collaboration would inevitably shed light on those areas needing clarification in due course, opening up a whole range of new opportunities for commercial pig and poultry producers through the elimination of dietary phytate.
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lighted by Dr Age Jongbloed of Wageningen UR, in The Netherlands. Plant phytates bind with a wide range of cations, he explained, with mineral digestibility improved differentially as phytase dose is raised (see Figure 2).

Digestibility responses vary
Dr Jongbloed also discussed the extensive interactions that take place between the
38 | July - august 2011

these interactions. At present, the non-linear nature of many of the responses meant relying heavily on the nutritionist’s expertise in adapting formulations in order to realise the full advantages of phytase use. When carrying out least-cost formulations for commercial pig diets, for example, the incorporation of phytase affected the

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