New Concepts on the Horizon: Phytogenics in Poultry Production

Modern poultry and egg production is facing several challenges. Growing demand for poultry products and rising prices for raw materials require the implementation of optimal production conditions with the aim to secure high animal performance.
calendar icon 16 May 2008
clock icon 4 minute read
Phytogenic feed additives have gained considerable attention in the feed industry and producers are increasingly incorporating them into feeding programs. Today, 61 (non-EU) or 70% (EU) of the companies are using phytogenic additives in broiler feeds (World Poultry, 2008). In comparison to Antibiotic Growth Promoters, phytogenics usually do not bear the risk of cross-resistances and residues in animal products. Improvements in feed conversion ratio (FCR) and body weight gain, as well as their benefits in helping to prevent intestinal diseases (such as Necrotic Enteritis) have been observed in recent trials with BIOMIN’s phytogenic performance enhancer Biomin® P.E.P.

Information about the mode of action of commercially available phytogenic feed additives is rather scarce. It can be speculated that phytogenic feed additives vary greatly with regard to their in vivo effects in the animal. This variation is due to differences in the composition and biological activities of such feed additives. Assessment of biological effects is difficult if the composition of a test substance is unclear or variable. With Biomin® P.E.P. there is a defined phytogenic feed additive with standardized composition which is based on carefully selected raw materials.

What can we expect from a phytogenic feed additive?

Recent facts from studies with swine indicate that the mode of action of Biomin® P.E.P. is versatile and conclusive (Kroismayr, 2007). It was shown in this work that addition of Biomin® P.E.P. to basal diets resulted in a reduction of the total bacterial count in the intestine, increase of nutrient digestibility (Stony et al., 2006), decreased levels of microbial toxins in the gut and, therefore, a down-regulation of the immune system. Finally, this indicates that more energy and nutrients are available for accretion of body mass (energy and nutrient sparing). Furthermore, there is evidence that phytogenics stimulate digestive secretions such as saliva or endogenous digestive enzymes (Platel and Srinivasan, 1996).

Figure 1 Biomin® P.E.P.: How it works

In the meantime, additional studies are under way to further identify potential mechanisms associated with the incorporation of phytogenics in diets for different species.

Phytogenics in broiler production

Biomin® P.E.P. was tested in different dosages in a scientific trial at the Agricultural University of Athens, Greece. Dayold, male Cobb broiler chicks were assigned to different treatments, comprising 3 replications per treatment and 105 birds per treatment. The Negative Control (NC) contained no growth promoters, whereas the Positive Control (PC) contained Avilamycin. In further treatments, Biomin® P.E.P. 125 poultry was supplemented at 125 or 250 g/t, respectively. As shown in Figures 2 and 3, Biomin® P.E.P. increased body weight gain and significantly improved FCR. Differences between the dosages of Biomin® P.E.P. were minor, indicating that the regular inclusion level of 125 g/t was optimal under the experimental conditions herein.

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