Danisco Animal Nutrition: Taking a targeted approach towards managing gut health
eFeedLink: Tell us about the new developments that have taken place in Danisco Animal Nutrition.
Bade: A lot of exciting things have happened since we last spoke! To begin with, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences — of which Danisco Animal Nutrition was part — merged with IFF to start a transformative journey to become a centre of innovation for our customers. With best-in-class R&D capabilities, a diverse portfolio of unique products and solutions, as well as a unified team from both organisations, the new IFF is a customer-focused leader; providing long-term value while also upholding our dedication to safe, sustainable practices, and products.
In our quest to ensure the delivery of innovative and differentiated biotechnology-based solutions, we have invested in a new manufacturing facility in Singapore, which will produce customised biotechnology solutions for our customers, including animal producers, across Asia Pacific. The new facility is a testament to our commitment to providing flexible, local solutions that are based on our global science platform and designed to empower and ease the daily challenges our customers face. The strategic location of the new facility will also reduce the supply lead time, thus minimising barriers for potential supply chain constraints.
Finally, I'm happy to share that in Asia Pacific, we have extended the availability of the industry-leading, novel phytase enzyme, Axtra® PHY GOLD beyond India to Malaysia, Thailand, and Australia.
As one of the leading feed solution providers, what trends are driving the animal nutrition market in Asia Pacific?
The AGP (antimicrobial growth promoter) ban and growing pressure to reduce or eliminate the use of antibiotics in the food chain remains one of the most influential trends driving developments. We are also seeing a greater focus on the use of low-cost or alternative raw materials, as well as local and regional by-products.
As you might expect, sustainability is also very much on the agenda, with more mature markets and larger companies at the forefront of new solutions. At the same time, animal welfare programmes are helping to shape good practices, while the introduction of greater digitalisation on farms looks set to improve operational efficiencies by identifying potential problems well in advance.
Danisco Animal Nutrition has long been a prominent player in poultry and swine gut health. What advice do you have for our feed mill and farm readers to accelerate performance via gut health?
We always recommend that our customers fully understand the diet they are feeding their animals. Is it the right formulation? Does it provide the right nutrients? And will it be enough to provide what the animal wants? These and other fundamental questions need to be addressed in order to optimise animal performance – and is particularly important in the context of gut health.
This is because 70% of an animal's immunity is concentrated in the gut, so fostering a strong gastrointestinal system from day one will improve its health, performance and welfare. A healthy monogastric gut maintains homeostasis, prevents infectious diseases, and provides energy and immunity. Whereas, poor gastrointestinal health can lead to sub-clinical issues, or clinical disease outbreaks, that cause physiological stress to the animals and result in reduced performance and animal welfare.
In both cases, the outcome is always the result of the interaction between three pillars (nutrition, microbiome, and gut and immune function) within the gut – a state we refer to as nutribiosis. So the aim should be to understand how to positively influence all three pillars to achieve balance in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) — also known as a favourable nutribiotic state — and deliver the sought-after positive performance benefits in the animal. However, the nutribiotic state is fragile and can be disturbed by animal welfare practices, as well as a wide range of external factors such as climate, environment or microbial challenges.
That's why we recommend a multi-pronged approach that includes the right combination of additives and nutrients to help achieve a favourable nutribiotic state. In fact, one of the most exciting areas currently being explored is what happens when enzymes and probiotics are used together. Our data certainly suggests that this approach has the potential to make considerable gains, with specific combinations shown to improve key aspects of gastrointestinal health including digestibility of key nutrients in broiler diets and intestinal integrity.
When it comes to managing gut health, when should animal producers focus on targeted nutrition?
For producers, the development of a mature gut structure and beneficial microbiota as early as possible in the production life cycle is essential, both in terms of animal welfare and performance. To understand why, it's necessary to first look at how the gut microbiota develop in young animals. It takes time to establish a mature microbiome, during which the young animal is susceptible to non-beneficial bacteria; meaning valuable energy is often diverted away from growth to overcome disease challenges. In addition, outside factors such as changes in climate, disease, and variations in raw materials all have an impact throughout an animal's lifecycle. This makes it even more important to be proactive so that you can predict when these issues might arise. And it's why at Danisco Animal Nutrition, we work closely with our customers to understand the challenges and provide the right nutritional solution at each stage of development.
We understand that targeted nutrition from a young age is essential, yet rising costs and limited availability of raw materials can disrupt feed strategies and challenge gut development. What solutions do feed additives offer?
Improving the digestibility of raw materials is always a priority. When the industry is looking for alternative or low-cost raw materials, however, the challenge is even greater because cheaper ingredients are often poor quality, with relatively high levels of fibre and/or high antinutrient content, both of which can impair the digestive efficiency of the animal. In addition, if high levels of undigestible fraction reach the gut, it creates an imbalance of microflora in favour of non-beneficial bacteria. An outcome which not only negatively impacts digestibility, but also immune function, and performance.
The key to production success, therefore, is to support the rapid development of a healthy and mature microbiota. In this context, building a nutritional strategy around nutribiosis will deliver the strongest results, where the feed formulation combines a probiotic to optimise gut health, a phytogenic blend to boost performance and a protease enzyme to improve digestibility. Crucially, our technical team provides recommendations based on robust analysis of the raw materials in order to support a favourable nutribiotic state in the animal.
What other updates might IFF wish to share with our feed mill and farm readers for the month of August on the subject of gut health, particularly those from Asia?
We continue to work closely with customers around the world to understand their needs and ensure we deliver the right combination of products to improve animal gut health and performance, and Asia Pacific is no exception. Indeed, our dedicated animal nutrition and technical service laboratories in China and India further strengthen our capabilities in the region by enabling us to respond to changing market dynamics with flexible, sophisticated, and customised enzyme solutions.