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AveMix® Pro: improving digestibility at a lower cost

The shift towards an increasing amount of protein of vegetable origin in animal feed comes at a cost:  reduced protein digestibility, lower performance and higher feed conversion. AVEVE Biochem has developed enzyme supplements that help overcome this hurdle and improve economics by increasing protein digestibility.

A fast-growing world population is increasing the demand for animal protein. Faced with the volatility of feed prices, market uncertainties, and an increasing cost of energy, feed companies need to find strategies to optimize feed nutrient digestibility and feed costs – without sacrificing animal performance.

Improving protein digestibility without losing profitability

A more efficient use of feed nutrients, and more specifically protein, is therefore a priority. This can be achieved by using more digestible ingredients or by supporting animal digestion.

In the past, crude protein were mainly originated from easily digested feedstuffs of animal origin. Due to several factors (ban of animal protein ingredients, raw materials prices and availability,…), the feed industry gradually moved to vegetable protein-rich ingredients. Due to their complex globular form, vegetable proteins are less soluble. This hinders their digestion. This is particularly true for young animals such as broilers whose digestive tract is not yet adjusted for complex protein digestion.

Proteins that are not well digested are fermented in the hindgut by proteolytic bacteria, producing harmful metabolites and increasing the risk of diarrhea and wet litter. Undigested protein also leads to lower performance and higher nitrogen levels in feces, with a negative impact on the environment.

Finally, considering the high price of protein source ingredients, undigested protein represent a direct economic loss.

Proteases: breaking down proteins

Proteases are enzymes that catalyse the hydrolysis of proteins into amino acids and peptides. While animals produce their own proteases, so-called added or exogenous proteases will further help improve protein digestibility.

AVEVE Biochem has partnered on several projects with the University of Ghent (Belgium) on protease research projects. In this connection in vitro and in vivo trials have been done to select exogenous proteases that work in synchrony with body’s own endogenous proteases to improve protein digestibility. As a result AVEVE Biochem has developed a validated neutral protease (AveMix® Pro) for poultry and pig application.

AveMix® Pro brings high protease activity level in the feed capable of breaking a broad spectrum of peptide bonds, increasing the release of peptides and amino acids, and effective on a wide pH gut spectrum.

AveMix® Pro: validated concept in poultry feed

AveMix® Pro has been validated in 240 one-day old chicks fed on corn and wheat based diet. In this trial the chickens were randomly divided into three feeding groups: 1) a group fed a standard diet (PC), 2) a group fed a similar and isocaloric diet but reduced by 3% on crude protein and digestible amino acids (NC) and 3) a group fed NC diet supplemented with AveMix® Pro at standard dosage (NC + AveMix® Pro). Diet compositions are available in the table below (table 1).

Table 1. Diets composition and specifications
Composition, % Starter PC Starter NC Starter NC + AveMix® Pro Grower PC Grower NC Grower NC + AveMix® Pro
corn 35.0 37.5 37.5 29.0 31.1 31.1
wheat 20.0 20.0 20.0 30.0 30.0 30.0
soybean meal 34.3 32.1 32.1 29.9 28.0 28.0
soybean oil 6.5 6.2 6.2 7.3 7.0 7.0
others 4.2 4.2 4.2 3.8 3.9 3.9
AveMix Pro 0 0 0.03 0 0 0.03
Nutrients Starter PC Starter NC Starter NC + AveMix® Pro Grower PC Grower NC Grower NC + AveMix® Pro
ME, kcal/kg 3040 3040 3040 3107 3107 3107
ME, MJ/kg 12.7 12.7 12.7 13.0 13.0 13.0
CP, % 21.5 20.7 20.7 20.0 19.4 19.4
Dig. Lys, % 1.18 1.15 1.15 1.05 1.02 1.02
Dig. Met + Cys, % 0.88 0.85 0.85 0.80 0.78 0.78
Dig. Trp, % 0.21 0.20 0.20 0.19 0.18 0.18
Dig. Thr, % 0.86 0.83 0.83 0.69 0.67 0.67

The performance of these different groups have been analysed on a period of 42 days.

Not surprisingly, the reduction of 3% of crude protein and digestible amino acids drastically impacted performance of chickens fed NC (table 2).

Body weight gain drops drastically from 2686 grams to 2616 grams and feed conversion ratio increased by 5 points (+4%).

Interestingly, chickens fed NC supplemented with AveMix® Pro outperformed significantly chickens fed NC diets and reached performance levels of chickens fed standard diet. Body weight gain and feed conversion ratio are even numerically better for chickens fed reformulated  cost-reduced diet supplemented with AveMix® Pro compared to chicken fed standard diet.

These results are explained by an enhancement of protein and amino acid digestibility when supplementing AveMix® Pro into the feed.

Table 2. Trial results
Performance parameters PC NC NC + AveMix® Pro
Body Weight Gain, g 2686  ab 2616  b 2711  a
% 100 97 101
Feed Conversion Ratio, g/g 1.627 1.684 1.621
% 100 104 100
Feed Intake, g 4371 4405 4392
% 100 101 100

Performance data (body weight gain, feed conversion ratio and feed intake) of NC and NC + AveMix® Pro fed chickens compared to performance data of PC diet fed chickens

AveMix® Pro: your ally in protein digestibility

AveMix® Pro

  • Boosts protein digestibility
  • Allows feed cost reduction
  • Helps to switch from animal to vegetable source of protein
  • Allows up to 3% crude protein and digestible amino acids reduction
  • Reduces risk of gut disorders
  • Helps to reduce N loss in faeces

Unlocking more nutrients

Vegetable protein sources often add an extra amount of fiber in the form of non-starch polysaccharides (NSPs). These NSPs have an anti-nutritive effect and hinder digestion by increasing the viscosity of the gut content, reducing nutrient uptake.

Depending on the feed formulation, it can be recommended to use a combination of protease and NSPases: NSPase to open the fiber matrix and unlock more nutrients in the feed, and proteases to increase the digestibility of available protein.

By increasing protein digestibility with the use of proteases or by using proteases on top of NSPases, nutritionists are able to reformulate heavily on proteins so that the extra investment of using a protease is well worth the trade-off.

Author: Francisco Valle Ramirez, AVEVE Biochem, Belgium