November 11, 2022


AB Vista's Signis: Promote gut health performance with stimbiotic

An eFeedLink Exclusive Talk


AB Vista has recently announced the company's expansion across Asia Pacific markets with the launch of its stimbiotic, Signis, in Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand.


"We are very excited to be bringing Signis to more countries, to improve the gut health and performance of even more animals," said Dr. Usama Aftab, AB Vista's ASPAC technical director. "As animal agriculture looks to reduce or eliminate antibiotic usage, Signis can help fill that vacuum by offering an alternative nutritional strategy that ensures the right balance between animal health, performance and feed efficiency."


The product was earlier launched in Selangor, Malaysia, during the company's Malaysia Fibre Seminar last August. Against the backdrop of the event, eFeedLink speaks to Dr. Tiago Santos, AB Vista's global technical and marketing director, and Albert Yeo, business and key account manager, about Signis, managing the various parameters of animal feed and achieving positive animal gut health.


What are the takeaways that you hope participants, who attended the Fibre Seminar, will get?


Albert Yeo: Signis is a new, innovative product, a stimbiotic that signals the microbiome and accelerates the fermentation of fibre that is already in the animal gut.


Business blooms when you farm the biome and fibre is the key to unlocking the potential of the microbiome.


AB Vista's Signis is classified as a stimbiotic instead of a prebiotic. Please explain the advantages that a stimbiotic would have over a prebiotic in terms of the process of enabling efficacy. Is there a viable feeding strategy in which a stimbiotic and prebiotic can, in a synergistic relationship, produce a combined desired effect?


Dr. Tiago Santos: Prebiotics are additives that are added to the feed and serve as a substrate for the growth of beneficial bacteria in the lower gut, thus improving fermentation and bringing a positive impact on gut health.


Stimbiotics work in a different way that does not actively provide an additional substrate for fermentation (like prebiotics) or provide more beneficial bacteria (like probiotics). What a stimbiotic does is stimulate the microbiome that is already in the lower gut to increase the fermentation of fibre. By working this way, stimbiotics create a beneficial cycle where a more fermentable fibre stimulates the bacteria. This further increases fermentation and creates more bacterial enzymes.


We believe that the mode of action of stimbiotics brings a more consistent and stronger stimulation of fermentation in the lower gut and thus benefits customers by providing flocks with better gut health and, consequently, more uniform performance.


All these do not mean that it is not possible to associate the use of stimbiotics with alternatives like prebiotics and probiotics, and it would be a question of understanding customers' needs and goals.


The animal's microbiome is a complex environment that can be impacted by various factors. What are the other aspects, products and services of AB Vista that supplement the functions of Signis? Please elaborate on their roles in this area.


Dr. Tiago Santos: Developing associated products and services is a key part of AB Vista's offering. We have Vistacell — a live yeast with a positive impact that reduces oxygen concentration in the gut and provides a better environment for the development of beneficial bacteria and fibre fermentation — and Vistabet, a natural betaine that improves enterocyte and reduces inflammation. All these products can be used in combination with Signis.


On the service side, we offer services like the evaluation of dietary fibre in ingredients and the calculation of the dietary fibre profile of diets, which allow us to better understand the fibre characteristics and the impact on lower gut fermentation.


We also offer an emission report service that monitors the impact of products and services in terms of not just the improvement of gut health and performance, but also the environmental impact of an activity.


We are currently developing a gut health service that would, in the future, monitor the gut health of animals, allowing producers to better understand the challenges they are facing and how to cope with them with the different tools available.


On a local level, what is the key challenge in Malaysian livestock production that has led to issues pertaining to maintaining healthy animal microbiomes and improving animal productivity?


Albert Yeo: Antibiotics are commonly used to control the microbiome and maintain a healthy animal gut. A healthy gut means the animal can process the diet more efficiently and has a better immune system that is less susceptible to pathogenic bacteria and viruses.


Currently, Malaysia's Department of Veterinary Services is regulating the use of antibiotics in feed. Livestock producers in the country will now need to use antibiotic alternatives such as probiotics, organic acids, prebiotics, synbiotics, enzymes and other products to maintain or improve animal productivity.


As a stimbiotic, Signis would meet Malaysian livestock producers' need for alternatives that can better utilise fibre in animal feed, manage fibre fermentability, degrade microbiome and enable better gut health and productivity.


Maintaining the affordability of feed costs has become a more crucial issue in recent times due to the global unrest of past years. From AB Vista's perspective, what actions can be taken to address relevant issues like business sustainability and profitability?


Albert Yeo: Rising feed costs have always been a challenge to all livestock producers globally.


AtAB Vista, we believe the most important factor is intelligence, i.e,  feed intelligence: the use of animal nutrition technology to identify margin opportunities.AB Vista is a full-service NIR (near-infrared spectroscopy) provider that can help producers to acquire feed intelligence at every step of production, from mill to farm.


Companies spend considerable time and effort evaluating products, suppliers and applications, and nutritionists also have to be highly technical in order to remain competitive.


Science has a role to play in identifying marginal improvements that otherwise may not be realised. Scientific advancements within the field of nutrition and technology can take several forms, including:


    - Improved understanding of physiological processes within poultry;


    - Understanding how to extract more insight from analytical methods employed throughout the feed
       production process, with one example being the analysis of raw materials and feed production;


    - Research within product areas to better understand the mode of action enabling further optimisation
      of product application.


Regardless of which form such advancements may take, the collective insight gained can provide producers with a different perspective (or feed intelligence) to help fine-tune a nutritional approach, which may take the form of formulating diets to better meet precise nutritional requirements.


The outcome would be that fewer resources are wasted, fewer problems exist in the gut and broilers can be fed with much ease, resulting in better performance at a lower cost. It is the aggregation of these small gains that can be realised that provides companies with a competitive edge and enables them to remain profitable in today's market.


Across the feed industry, companies are now looking to be more targeted with their nutritional approach, and this is expected to continue given the changes taking place worldwide.

- Terry Tan, eFeedLink

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