15 October 2018- It is estimated that over 95% of commercial poultry diets and 90% of commercial pig diets contain an enzyme—and many contain more than one. But of course, not all of those customers have the same end goals. Some might be interested in maximising animal performance by any means possible, but for many others, marginal benefits in terms of performance might be outweighed by additional costs; these users would be interested in optimising their diets by reducing the inclusion rates of some ingredients if dietary enzymes are helping to supply those nutritional needs through, for example, breaking down ANFs and liberating minerals. Still others are constrained by environmental imperatives to reduce nitrogen pollution; these customers might be interested in deploying enzymes allowing them to increase amino acid digestibility and lower their dietary protein levels.

Meeting the different needs of such a vast customer base requires a deep understanding of how these enzymes act upon the animal, and how they interact with other dietary elements as well as with each other. Below, three enzyme experts from AB Vista – EMEA Director Juan Ignacio Fernández, Research Director Mike Bedford, and EMEA Technical Director Rob ten Doeschate, speak with Feedinfo about what has been learned from the latest research into NSPases and phytase, and how the field will adapt to apply these findings to meet a wider spectrum of production goals.

Juan Ignacio Fernandez
EMEA Director
AB Vista

[Feedinfo News Service] In a recent press release, you talked about AB Vista exploring opportunities to improve profitability with a new enzyme application at EuroTier. Can you explain what you mean by this?

[Juan Ignacio Fernández] We have conducted extensive research to determine the effect of targeted enzyme application to degrade both phytate and NSP, reducing the antinutritive effects of both substrates. This research has yielded a new enzyme application called Maximum Matrix Nutrition, which delivers complete phytate breakdown whilst reducing viscosity and increasing fibre fermentability. With this approach, diets can be formulated with higher nutrient credits whilst maintaining animal performance, offering considerable cost savings and minimising waste. Having conducted extensive research to develop and validate this concept, we have confidence in the proposed matrix values. We have validated Maximum Matrix Nutrition in 10 pig and poultry performance trials globally, and our results have shown cost savings of up to €25/t with this application when compared with traditional enzyme application. Maximum Matrix Nutrition delivers equal performance at a considerably lower feed cost.

[Feedinfo News Service] What are the key areas of research within the field of feed enzymes? Can you tell us about some of your more recent pieces of work published?

[Mike Bedford] Recent research looking at phytase and NSPase mode of action has improved our understanding not only of how they work, but as a consequence, how to extract maximum value from their use. In the field of phytase research it is clear that the phytate enzyme has 5 substrates, not one, and it is the activity on all of these substrates (IP6, IP5, IP4, IP3 and IP2) that needs to be considered if you want to extract maximum value out of the phytase employed. The presence of excess P and Ca impedes not only the rate of IP6 to IP5 hydrolysis, which has been known for a long time, but also the rate of degradation of lower esters as well. This means excess Ca and P will reduce inositol production and, as a result, the benefits of using higher inclusion levels of phytase – or ‘superdosing’ – will be reduced as well, resulting in poorer gain/FCR responses than anticipated. In the case of Maximum Matrix Nutrition, excess Ca and P could mean failure to fully deliver the matrix expected.

[Feedinfo News Service] Over the last five years we’ve heard a lot from AB Vista on the topic of phytase application; what developments in this area can we expect to hear about next?

Rob ten Doeschate
EMEA Technical Director
AB Vista

[Rob ten Doeschate] We have done a lot of work to investigate how best to translate the extra-phosphoric effect of phytase into matrix values that can be applied when using high phytase doses. It has been really interesting to see the opportunities for reducing digestible amino acid and energy levels whilst recovering performance by maximising phytate breakdown. This would be of particular interest where reduction of feed cost, either as price per tonne or in terms of feed cost per kg meat produced, is a key parameter. This applies to both chicken and pork producers, showing that the concept has a wide application.

[Feedinfo News Service] Aside from phytase, what are the noteworthy developments in other feed enzymes?

[Rob ten Doeschate] As part of the work described above we also considered how best to deal with the eternal question of combining additives and combining nutrient release values from different products when included in the same diet. Every nutritionist has to deal with this issue, and often the research on individual additives doesn’t really predict how they perform in a practical diet where several additives are included. We have shown that the combination of xylanase (Econase XT) and high levels of phytase (Quantum Blue) can deliver 80% of combined nutrient release. The most relevant question will increasingly be whether products – such as protease – which work in principle have sufficiently additive benefits when used with other solutions. In this vein, we believe the data shows that the use of a third class of enzymes (beyond phytase and NSPases which are now standard) doesn’t further improve digestibility enough to add value in a commercial diet. We will continue to look for opportunities to improve performance using enzyme products, but always considering whether a new or extra additive would really add value given what is already there in most diets.

Mike Bedford
Research Director
AB Vista

[Feedinfo News Service] You referenced an increased understanding of mode of action of NSPases; could you shed more light on this and the relevance of this commercially?

[Mike Bedford] AB Vista has invested in a significant amount of research into NSPases over the last four years, which has improved our understanding of NSPase mode of action. We have been able to show that the benefit of feeding an NSPase is driven largely by its ability to produce small quantities of NSP oligosaccharides from the diet, and that these oligosaccharides are instrumental in signalling the microbes resident in the large intestine to develop a much more effective fibre degrading capacity. Effectively we are enabling greater diet digestibility by improving the extent of fibre digestibility at a younger age than would normally occur. This is achieved by early signalling and focussing the microbes inhabiting the large intestine to attack undigested xylan. In this instance, NSPases, and xylanases in particular, can be considered as tools to train the microbiome to be better able to degrade fibre more effectively. Steps are in place to optimise the signalling pathway to increase the scale and frequency of positive responses.

[Feedinfo News Service] Considering NSPases as tools to train the microbiome, do you see these types of products replacing others that claim an impact on gut function?

[Juan Ignacio Fernández] This is a really interesting area, very much one to watch I would say. There is a whole range of products that claim an impact on gut function, some of those may well work together in a positive manner and thus achieve a synergistic effect, some may show negative interaction and some could be simply replaced by the right NSPase. So the answer is ‘Yes’, but it is fair to say that the science is rapidly developing in this field. It is exciting to be involved in this area and I am sure our understanding will increase rapidly in the years to come.