Feed products designed for intestinal health have emerged to contribute to health management practices, generally focusing on promoting the growth of beneficial microbiota, and reducing pathogens. Recent insights demonstrate that the efficacy of a gut health concept can be markedly improved by optimising both microbiota and gut barrier function. This integrated approach includes stabilisation of the microbiota and enforcing the mucosal barrier properties (Smits, 2011).
Damaged gut and wet litter
Wet litter is a significant challenge in the poultry industry. It not only causes production losses but is also a factor in poor welfare. A damaged gut is one of the challenges recognised by nutritionists and producers. Damage to the gut wall is usually caused by a inflammatory response to mild to severe gastroenteritis, which further increases water output to the gut. Damage to the gastrointestinal tract reduces the surface area for nutrient absorption and creates the opportunity for pathogens to proliferate, colonise and potentially become invasive and disease causing. Inflammation of the gastrointestinal lining negatively affects digestion. The reduction in nutrient and water absorption causes increased faecal water output.
The disturbance in nutrient assimilation (intake, digestion and absorption) will increase nutrient through flow. Altering the microbial population of the distal gut causing wet litter. Altered microbial population or dysbiosis in the gut ultimately negatively affects the overall health of the bird. As a result, feed efficiency is reduced, litter mopisdtyure content increases, footpad lesions are increased and the bird’s welfare is compromised. Managing the stability of the gut microbiota as well as gut wall integrity becomes a priority when wet litter is a concern in poultry production.
Managing wet litter
When considering gut health, it is imperative to give emphasis to ‘Tight Junctions’ located at the surface layer of the gut (Collett, 2007). Tight junctions are made up of protein complexes and their function is to work as a barrier. One of the main roles of tight junction is to prevent bacteria entering into the system. Tight junctions may be compromised due to imbalance in the gut microbial community. It has been previously demonstrated that a well established gut microbial community can reduce the prevalence of wet litter by making it more difficult for pathogens to infiltrate (Collett, 2007). Organic acids have been established as a credible tool to manage healthy gut populations. Meta analysis and literature reviews show that water and feed acidification have a significant role to prevent wet litter (Butcher, 1999). The restricted use of antimicrobials in food producing animals has driven the industry to seek alternative means of controlling pathogenic organisms. As a result, organic acid use is increasing in the poultry industry as a means of reducing dependence on antibiotics (Smits, 2011).
Presan™ is one of the successful products developed by Selko. Presan™‐FY is a synergistic blend of phenolic compound, (patented) slow-released C12, target-released butyrate, MCFA’s and organic acids. Trails show that Presan™-FY stabilises microbiota and boosts gut barrier function.
Benefits of target-released butyrate, slow-released C12 and phenolic compound
The main function of butyrate for the animal is a good energy source for the intestinal cells and support the mucus secretion which is part of the defence mechanism in the intestine (Brassart and Schiffrin, 1997; Campieri et al.,2000; Gionchetti et al., 2000). For both purposes the butyrate must reach the target spot in the intestines (Thompson and Hinton, 1997). To ensure this, the butyrate in Presan™ is protected (Brassart and Schiffrin, 1997; Campieri et al.,2000; Gionchetti et al., 2000).
The slow release patented C12 ensures that it travels further down in the small intestine compared to other C12 forms ( Van Immerseel et al., 2004). The slow release C12 also has better characteristics for water solubility, providing greater interactions with pathogenic bacteria in the gut ( Thompson and Hinton, 1997). The phenolic compounds help in boosting the gut wall barrier (Boudet, 2007). They have been selected out of a long list of candidates after literature studies and further testing in vitro and in vivo. They are highly effective in controlling oxidative stress & inflammatory reactions in the gut and thus prevent damage to the gut wall (Boudet, 2007). At the same time it supports maintaining the integrity of tight junctions (Horst, 2014).
Presan™-FY has been tested in several field trials and has shown consistent performance. The trial work below was conducted at the Nutreco Poultry Research Centre (PRRC) in Spain.
Digesta was taken from the jejunum and caecum. Samples were tested by qPCR and pyro-sequencing. The pyro-sequencing technique enables the user to make a complete overview of the intestinal microbiota population in one analytical run and can be used to study changes in microbiota associated with poor animal health.
Figure 1: Number of species observed in jejunal samples and pyro-sequencing microbial community profile from birds subjected to diets with and without Presan™-FY for 21 days. NIZO food research, the Netherlands and Nutreco PRRC, Spain 2011.
A clear reduction in total counts in the jejunum and E. coli in the caecum were observed in 3 weeks time. Nutreco Poultry Research Centre (PRRC) Spain 2011. (Figure 2)
Presan™-FY improved feed conversion ration during the complete period. Nutreco Poultry Research Centre (PRRC) Spain 2011. (Figure 3)
Presan™-FY increases the dry matter content of litter averaging a 5.0% improvement. The footpad lesions were scored on day 21 and 35. The use of Presan™-FY resulted in a significant reduction of the footpad lesions. Nutreco Poultry Research Centre (PRRC) Spain 2011. (Figure 4)
Trials show the benefits of using Presan™-FY in poultry are:
- Lower incidence of footpad lesions by improving litter quality.
- Improved welfare of birds.
- Strong technical performance and ROI.
Reference can be provided on request.