November 24, 2015


Pancosma's new TakTik® 'customised' for weaning piglets



With rising global population and consequent demand for animal products worldwide, the identification of novel strategies to increase the efficiency of food production has become a major research focus. With regards to agricultural animals, optimisation of animal health and nutrient utilisation is a key component of improving production efficiency. Safety issues have also highlighted the need for high-quality products. These factors, combined with the progress of animal breeding and farm management, require the continuous improvement of nutrition to feed high-performing or high-potential animals.


For feed compounders this means they need solutions and partners they can trust and who can bring valuable and concrete benefits. To meet the expectations of the market, suppliers of feed additives have to give an added value to the end-user, the feed producer, by providing economical solutions without neglecting the safety of the consumer.


Pancosma has decided to go one step beyond with TakTik®. The objective of this new concept is to combine the existing knowhow of Pancosma, to offer transversal and all-in-one solutions to customers, for specific applications. Of course, this approach relies on the existing quality standards of Pancosma such as the Iso Fusion Technology® (IFT®) and the Intelligent Gut Action® (IGA®). These new solutions are promoted under the brand TakTik®, which covers all transversal solutions of the Pancosma group. 
Dr. Emma Wall, technology deployment director at Pancosma, explains, "TakTik® is really a customized experience for our client. They tell us their challenges and needs, we analyze these needs and make some proposals based on our knowledge. They then test the proposals and together we react and discuss the outcomes. Our proposals will be based 100% on science and observations we have made previously, not based on speculation, and are therefore more likely to be very effective products."


Several TakTik® solutions have already been designed and successfully promoted. They target key concerns of our industry such as intake, digestive health, gut integrity, feed conversion, specific environmental conditions, and formulation flexibility. The first product of this range, TakTik® X-IN, is a solution designed to improve digestive health and performance of young animals, such as piglets.


Ewenn Helary, marketing director of Pancosma, states, "TakTik® X-IN is definitely a bestseller for us. It has been designed to address specific "classic" concerns of young animals. The product has shown consistent solid improvements in performance in various conditions and challenges. For these reasons, this solution is regularly used in many markets: Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia. This success can be explained simply because TakTik® X-IN satisfies all quality standards of the TakTik® approach: 1) transversal combination; 2) IFT® Technology; 3) IGA® Science; and 4) synergistic effects".


Primary challenge of swine producers: piglet health


In modern swine facilities, piglets are weaned and exposed to solid feed as early as 3 to 4 weeks of age, with the objective of increasing the number of litters and consequently production efficiency. Unfortunately, early weaning is often associated with significant metabolic stress. One of the most common post-weaning problems is a dramatic drop in feed intake, and it can take days for piglets to recover. This not only limits the amount of energy and nutrients that the piglets receive, which has a negative impact on weight gain, but also depletes the gut of nutrients at a time when its growth and development are critical. 


The challenges associated with weaning piglets are, therefore, multi-faceted, as nutrient intake is decreased, gut development is impaired, and the subsequent absorption of nutrients is sub-optimal so that the nutrients that are being ingested are not absorbed efficiently. Consequently, there is a lack of nutrients to support the delicate immune system, which makes weanling piglets highly susceptible to diseases, particularly diarrhea, which further impairs the absorption of nutrients from the gut. In fact, decreased nutrient absorption and the consequent impairment of immunity is the leading cause of mortality in piglets.


Secondary challenge of swine producers: piglet growth


When absorption of nutrients and immunity are compromised, growth of the animal also becomes sub-optimal, and this has clear economic implications, since body weight around the time of weaning is highly correlated to body weight at finishing. Importantly, there appears to be no growth compensation when animals perform poorly just after weaning. Therefore, many producers focus on strategies to increase feed intake and daily weight gain from day one post-weaning, to optimise lifetime performance and economic returns. 


Although there are several products on the market for use in counteracting post-weaning stress, few of them exploit the normal physiology and development of the gut. In addition, the way in which feed additives are manufactured can have a marked effect on the efficacy of the product, when it is used in the field.


Securing gut health and performance


TakTik® X-IN, developed by Pancosma, has been successfully introduced in the market and is designed to optimise the health and development of the gut. TakTik® X-IN targets the specific challenges faced by piglets. It contains two distinct and superposed parts. The inner core is made of the sweet taste enhancer, SUCRAM®, known to increase glucose absorption, improve gut structure and architecture thanks to its gut sensing effect. This inner core acts to enhance feed intake, and also to increase the absorption of glucose by the gut. The outer shell of TakTik® X-IN consists of the product XTRACT®, based on the phytonutrient anethole, which demonstrated a potent effect on gut immunity, both in vitro and in vivo, therefore minimizing local inflammation and optimising gut health.


The anethole found in this feed additive also has the potential to improve intestinal health, as in some experiments it has been shown to decrease inflammation and the formation of free radicals. In addition, Pancosma has contributed to several publications related to the effects of anethole. A study published in 2011 demonstrated that anethole enhances in vitro parameters of immunity, and augments in vivo protection against coccidiosis. More recently in 2012, another study described the effects of anethole on inflammation in porcine alveolar macrophages in vitro; this highlighted how anethole increases the cell viability of macrophages.



Experimental evidence for improved piglet digestive health and performance


Several animal trials have been conducted to determine the effects of TakTik® on feed intake, and total weight gain during the post-weaning period. Recently, a trial performed in the US demonstrated the effect of TakTik® X-IN on piglets at different stages of development. During the first three weeks after weaning, piglets showed a higher intake and also better body weight gain than the controls. Later on, from week 4 to 6, piglets showed higher body weight gain, but also a better feed conversion or gain-to-feed ratio.


This clearly highlights the intricate mechanisms through which TakTik® X-IN exerts its effects. The improvement of gut health will help young animals, especially the weakest ones, to face weaning stress and start eating at an early stage. Later on, the development of gut maturity will lead to a better feed efficacy for those animals.


Another recent experiment was done in the Benelux region, with more than a 1,000 piglets during the pre-weaning and post-weaning phases. The results indicate that TakTik® increased feed intake (+9%) in both phases, compared to the positive control group. In addition, the percentage of veterinary treatments needed was lower for animals fed a diet supplemented with TakTik® X-IN. This effect was more noticeable for treatments related to respiratory or intestinal diseases.


Lastly, TakTik® X-IN supplementation improved herd homogeneity and therefore had a positive impact on the lightest piglets. The added advantage of improved profitability confirmed the interest in TakTik® X-IN. Finally, in 2013, another trial done in Germany showed that TakTik® X-IN improved feed efficacy in young piglets, in comparison with a probiotic. Furthermore, animals fed with TakTik® X-IN showed a better feed efficacy, with a reduction of FCR by 4.6% compared to the positive control group. The analysis concluded with a calculation of the return on investment (ROI) of TakTik® X-IN in these conditions, which was determined to be greater than 6.


In all, these experiments highlight that supplementation with TakTik® X-IN significantly improves piglet performance, by increasing feed intake and body weight gain during the post-weaning period, and by eliciting a superior performance when compared to other flavor enhancers on the market. The mechanism underlying these effects involves multiple factors, including a boost in immunity by anethole, and an increase in glucose absorption elicited by the sweet taste enhancing inner core of each capsule.


TakTik® X-IN is recommended by swine professionals and experts for pig raisers facing critical challenges, such as feed intake and gut efficiency, and who are looking for optimised growth and profitability. Recent trials and research, as well as feedback from clients, have confirmed its efficacy for young piglets.


Better gut health and performance through combined approach


Pancosma has a long history, dating back 68 years, and it has been a pioneer in palatants, with well-known brands such as SUCRAM® and TEK®. During the last 15 years, Pancosma has diversified its product portfolio, and has developed or integrated new businesses such as phytonutrients (XTRACT®), organic trace minerals (B-TRAXIM®), PAN-ACID®, and CARBOVET®. This has been an important and strategic move for Pancosma to sustain its growth.


In the meantime, Pancosma has invested significantly in basic research to identify new solutions for the feed industry. Scientists are focusing on the identification and development of new potential targets, for feed additives to improve animal health and absorption of nutrients. Specifically, there is now an emerging emphasis on the gut of the animal and, in particular, gastrointestinal health, which can influence animal development, health and susceptibility to diseases. Pancosma has been active in this field with the development of new products based on IGA® standard.


More recently, based on the success of TakTik® X-IN globally, Pancosma has decided to go one step beyond with the TakTik® Approach. The objective of this new concept is to combine its existing knowhow to offer more transversal and all-in-one solutions to customers, often lead users, for specific applications.


Dr. Wall elucidates further, "The lead users represent a unique and very special group of customers.  Not only are they interested in innovative technologies, they are also interested in participating in the development of custom technologies that can be tailor-made to meet their specific needs. This is not surprising; many lead users have a plethora of "one size fits all" technologies from which they can choose. One size fits all, however, is a blanket approach that unfortunately does not reflect the reality that different environments are highly variable.


"Therefore, in the partnerships that we offer with our lead users, we want to provide them with services that they cannot create themselves or find anywhere else. We want to know deeply what are the challenges associated with their context(s), and then use our foundation of knowledge to solve these challenges in scientifically creative and highly unique ways."


Marketing director Helary concludes, "The TakTik® Approach is about using our strong fundamental research capabilities to bring our products directly to the market, and this proximity to the market keeps us in close contact with our clients. Indeed, key opinion leaders and lead users of the industry are companies which have demonstrated twofold higher growth compared to other players in the sector. We are convinced that this is the right approach, as in our experience 80% of our solutions have achieved success when implemented with key accounts".

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