July 16, 2018
Wageningen University and Nutriad present result on butyrate research
Nutriad co-financed a research project on the use of butyrate as a feed additive. Spanning a few years, the project was concluded with the Ph.D. thesis of Pierre Moquet on the effects of butyrate in broiler diets, which he successfully defended on June 22 at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
Dr. Moquet began his Ph.D. research in the Wageningen Animal Nutrition Group (WUR) to investigate an important conundrum related to the use of butyrate as an additive in animal feed.
On the one hand, this molecule has received considerable attention for its potential to improve intestinal health and animal performance; while on the other hand, the mechanisms' underlying effects have been described as very diverse and seemingly less consistent.
Together with a fellow Ph.D. student from Ghent University, Dr. Moquet set out to explore this topic in the framework of a research project that was co-financed by Nutriad and VLAIO, the Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship agency.
Dr. Tim Goosens, Business Development Manager, Digestive Performance at Nutriad, coordinated support for the project.
Goosens explained, "Dr. Moquet found evidence supporting his hypothesis that at least part of this variation can be attributed to the fact that different products deliver butyrate in distinct parts of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). These different release profiles result in specific digestive, microbial and immunological responses."
For example, when butyrate levels were increased solely in the proximal part of the GIT, or specifically in the small intestine, an expression of host defence peptides was modulated and the level of certain antibodies in the blood was increased. However, these treatments also triggered caecal microbial dysbiosis and inflammatory responses.
On the contrary, when additives were used to increase butyrate not only in the proximal GIT but also the hindgut, no signs of gut inflammation were observed, while the apparent digestibility of methionine was improved, as well as the feed conversion ratio.
"All in all, the data suggest that butyrate indeed has the potential to elicit important gut health stimulating mechanisms. But, it is not an 'always beneficial' product everywhere. Instead, the importance of precision delivery of this molecule is highlighted once more. This is especially important for butyrate producers if they are supposed to provide practical and smart solutions to animal producers," Goosens concluded.