October 11, 2016

AB Vista: Understanding dietary fibre to boost animal feed and digestion



The addition of fibre-degrading enzymes to feed delivers significant benefits for animal digestion, Dr. Hadden Graham, global technical director at AB Vista, explained.


Dietary fibre is commonly known as the part of the diet which is not broken down by the animal's digestive enzymes. But in the latest of AB Vista's "Extraordinary Science Brought to Life" videos, Dr. Graham highlighted how a greater understanding of dietary fibre can help to optimise feed.


"The major carbohydrate in any feed is generally the polysaccharides - this includes starch, as well as cellulose, hemicellulose, pectins and fructans: these last four make up the dietary fibre. For the purposes of analysis, dietary fibre can be defined as the sum of the non-starch polysaccharides and the lignin."


According to Dr. Graham, the fibre fraction between different feedstuffs varies significantly, with levels of starch, oligosaccharides, non-starch polysaccharides and lignin varying considerably between corn and soybean meal.


"Fibre can be both soluble and insoluble - and can be both a nutrient (in that it can be degraded, to provide energy) and an anti-nutrient - in that it can increase gut viscosity and encapsulate nutrients - thus reducing digestibility.


"There are three main mechanisms at play when looking at how fibre-degrading enzymes can be used to optimise feed: their ability to break down insoluble fibres and open up the cell walls, reduce viscosity (allowing the animal's own enzymes to move quickly in the gut), and the subsequent production of oligosaccharides, providing energy for the animal."


Dr. Graham added that these mechanisms result in better digestion of nutrients (starch, protein and fat); greater degradation of fibre and increased levels of good bacteria in the gut.


These findings will be presented at the CLANA academic conference, happening during October in Cancun, Mexico.


- AB Vista

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