BASF: Entering the gut health segment with BalanGut®


End 2019, BASF introduced BalanGut®, marking the company's entry into the gut health segment. Ahead of the webinar that BASF is organising with eFeedlink on October 12, Livestock & Feed Business finds out more from Dr. Adriana Barri, global technical product manager, Animal Nutrition, BASF, and Dr. Rey P. Agra, regional technical manager, Animal Nutrition – Asia Pacific, BASF, about the benefits that BalanGut brings to a variety of production environments, including antibiotic-free (ABF) programmes.


Dr. Barri (left) and Dr. Agra


Livestock & Feed Business: We understand that BalanGut is not an organic acid. Can you please explain what BalanGut is and what are its benefits?

Drs. Barri and Agra: You are correct, BalanGut is not an organic acid. BalanGut is a blend of mono-, di- and triglycerides of short- and medium-chain fatty acids. As opposed to organic acids, BalanGut's activity is not pH dependent, and it has much better handling properties because it is neither corrosive nor volatile. It is also heat-stable.

As its name suggests, BalanGut keeps digestion in balance, targeting poultry, swine, and aquaculture production to support the intestinal health of the animal, maintaining animal wellbeing and by consequence optimal development.

In which sub-regions or countries is BalanGut currently available?

BalanGut is currently sold in 48 countries around the globe. In the Asia-Pacific region in particular, BalanGut is already registered in many countries and can be used in Australia, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.

How can BalanGut complement BASF's other product groups, such as organic acids?

We believe that feed or water-delivered additives can support in a strategic manner livestock farming in its different stages as stand-alone products or in combinations. The expected positive effects to be seen are uniformity and liveability. These are related to the fortification of intestinal health, which implies increased beneficial microbial populations, stimulation of the digestive function and strengthening of the threat defences.

For example, initial findings have suggested that the supplementation of BalanGut LS P and Amasil® NA at different feeding phases may achieve superior performance improvement in broilers.

Under the current COVID-19 environment, feed mills and farms are very concerned about their immediate production costs and bottom line. What added value does BalanGut bring to them?

While the current COVID-19 situation is indeed challenging, profitable production is still based on keeping as many animals as possible healthy from birth or hatching to harvest. BalanGut can make an important contribution to this by supporting the resilience and viability of the animals. As a result, farmers can sell more end products and are more successful economically.

BalanGut also provides a complimentary option to producers looking for efficient and effective ABF programmes and, in specific applications, the energy value in BalanGut could also help offset some costs in formulation, especially during situations when energy sources are particularly expensive.

In the context of gut health, which is essential to transitioning to ABF production, please share with us your views on the antibiotic reduction landscape, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. Also, how does BASF view the subject of antibiotic replacement in terms of the solutions that the company can provide?

The best way to lessen antimicrobials use in animal production is by supporting animal resilience, in particular gut health.

Growing awareness to antimicrobial resistance and continued trending in favour of ABF production in the West lead us to think that Asia-Pacific will eventually follow suit. Antimicrobial resistance is not only of public concern. Animals also fall sick, and when they do it is crucial that they are effectively treated with antibiotics to which there is no antibiotic resistance. Therefore, a reduced and sensible use of antibiotics, where the use is mainly restricted to therapeutic use, are in the best interest for everybody.

Because no single product can completely replace antibiotic growth promoters on its own, biosecurity and husbandry practices play an important role in animal production. At BASF, we are keen to work with our customers to come up with solutions to address their specific needs to their markets.

BASF offers a comprehensive product portfolio that can help our customers build ABF programmes to maintain the gut health of their animals, including using: enzymes whenever alternative raw material ingredients are used; organic acids for feed hygiene, ingredient preservation and water quality; BalanGut to support intestinal health and animal wellbeing.

What further advice might BASF have for customers?

While considering different solutions or ABF programmes, it is important to understand the mechanism of action of feed additives as stand-alone products. This will help recognise the best way to apply them under the different stages and challenges during production and to identify how to best combine them, to fit the individual challenges of each production system.

We believe that BalanGut can be part of the solution, and in the webinar that BASF is organising with eFeedlink on October 12, we will dive into our new product and the different potential mechanisms of action that have been proposed to explain their positive effects in poultry and swine.