By Philippe Serene

For many years, we focused on improving the feed digestibility in the small intestine. We increased the ingredients with high digestibility and reduced as much as possible the ingredients presenting low digestibility.

But we ignored the basic digestive physiology and namely the importance of the large intestine where bacterial fermentation are contributing as well to the nutritional supply of the animal.

How important are these fermentations?

How nutritionist should adjust their feed formula to optimise both small intestine digestion and large intestine fermentation and provide a more efficient feed conversion. The article below brings some clarifications on that subject.

Generally, carnivores consume animal tissue, which is similar to their own; therefore all the body needs to do is break down the tissue and absorb the different components in the small intestine, which can then be used in the carnivores’ own body.

Herbivores only consume plant materials, which is very difficult to digest. No vertebrates make an enzyme capable of breaking down cellulose. To overcome this, herbivores have developed a symbiotic relationship with a population of microflora that inhabit a specialized region of the gut for fermentation e.g. the caecum or rumen of ruminants. The microflora population of the gut is able to breakdown cellulose and uses the glucose for its own metabolic needs. As a waste product of this process, the microflora population releases volatile fatty acids (e.g. acetate, butyrate & propionate) and lactate, which the herbivore utilizes for energy.

Omnivores consume both meat and plant matter; they have a digestive system which combines both the one stomach of carnivores and bacterial fermentation in the colon as herbivores to digest resistant carbohydrates as cellulose.

In pig, about 30 to 60% of the total gastrointestinal content resides in the large intestine where it is retained for 20 to 38h as compared with 0 to 6h in the stomach and 2 to 6h in the small intestine. This extended retention time in the large intestine provides ample time for bacterial digestion of resistant carbohydrates. Although carbohydrates are the primary substrates for microbial fermentation in the large intestine, all organic substances entering the large intestine are potential substrates for fermentation.

Colon bacterial fermentation creates short-chain fatty acids (mainly acetate, propionate and butyrate) and lactate that can be used for energy and metabolic processes by the animal body. Butyrate is the major energy source for colonocytes. Propionate is largely taken up by the liver. Acetate enters the peripheral circulation to be metabolized by peripheral tissues and lactate (D-lactate) can be metabolized and lead to produce ATP (energy)

The acids produced during the fermentation will have 3 major benefits

1 – The VFA will be absorbed and contribute to the overall net energy for maintenance and growth of the animals. The net absorption of VFA (volatile fatty acids) into the hepatic portal blood has been quantified. It has been calculated that VFA from large intestine could contribute 30% of the maintenance energy requirement in 60kg pigs.

2 – The lactate produced during the fermentation will act as bactericides in the large intestine to prevent the proliferation of pathogens namely clostridium.

3 – The production of butyric acid will be used by the colonocytes as major source of cell energy for activating the water / sodium reabsorption pump.

To optimize the utilization of the fermentation process, it is important for nutritionist to incorporate sufficient resistant carbohydrates in the diet to feed the bacterial population. The ingredient must be fermentable but sufficiently resistant to be carried up to the large intestine. This requirement is not valued by least-cost formulation software. Indeed, for decennials, we have been focusing on optimizing the small intestine digestion and reduce resistant carbohydrates. We were looking for easily digestible materials to be absorbed in the small intestine. The requirement for fermentation will need a new mindset and will call for new ingredients and nutrients. You may need to adjust your software accordingly by either setting a minimum for ingredients rich in fermentable carbohydrates or by creating a nutrient called ‘fermentable carbohydrates’ and updating the matrix for all ingredients about their content in fermentable materials.

When we are optimizing diets with fermentable materials in order to leverage the fermentation process and maximize its impact on the supply of energy, we are observing significant improvement as far as zoo-technical performance is concerned.

More energy for growth and reproduction For lactating diets, this additional energy from fermentation will ensure shorter parturition time and heavier piglets at birth. Experimentations show that an optimal fermentation can reduce parturition time up to 50mn and increase piglet weight at birth between 60 to100g. The incremental energy supports an increase of milk production for sows and piglets or broilers daily gain.

Fewer diarrheas in piglets and wet litter in poultry The increase of colonocytes activities through the supply of natural butyric acid from fermentation will ensure a better water reabsorption and limit the nutritional diarrhea and wet litter. Trials showed an improvement of feces aspect in piglets and a reduction of feet problems in Broilers.

Better gut health

The natural acidification of the large intestine by the production of lactic acid reduces the incidence of MMA in Sow. During gestation, the better gut health is translated into much calmer sows. This is the first sign that farmers immediately notice when they entered pens using optimized diet. In layers, the better gut health will reduce clostridium infections. That will help to get cleaner eggs and to extend the production life of laying hens.

This new paradigm shift would enable feed manufacturers to realize significant and visible improvement in their feed performance. As it is a major change, it is important to educate your sales team on Swine and Poultry digestive physiology and encourage them to communicate these points of differentiation to your customers. The more the farmers understand the importance of fermentation and the easier it will be for your company to value your feed superiority.















China will Import over a Sixth of the World’s Sorghum in 2015

Over a sixth of the world’s sorghum will be shipped to China this year as the Asian superpower’s new-found hunger for the grain continues to grow, according to market intelligence firm CCM.

China imported over a million tonnes of sorghum during May alone, according to data from China Customs, and imports have risen every month since February.

Based on current rates, CCM predicts that China will import over ten million tonnes of sorghum in 2015, more than a sixth of the 59.4 million tonnes the International Grain Council forecasts will be grown worldwide during the 2014/2015 growing season.


Source: China Customs and CCM

This spike in Chinese demand is being driven mainly by the country’s feed industry, which is increasingly turning to sorghum as a cheaper substitute for corn. Over 80% of the sorghum imported to China is used to produce feed, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce.

Sorghum’s chief advantage lies in its relative cheapness. The Chinese government’s policy of stockpiling large quantities of corn has driven up domestic corn prices to USD393/t[1], almost double prices in the US. However, China also imposes a hefty 65% tariff on corn imports that raises the price of imported corn to USD380/t.

At an average price of just USD284/t, sorghum represents an attractive alternative for Chinese manufacturers.

Though its lower nutritional value and tendency to cause constipation make sorghum unsuitable to completely replace corn, insiders in China’s feed industry disclosed to CCM that Chinese manufacturers will typically choose sorghum over corn if the price difference rises over RMB150-200/t (USD24.5-32.7/t).

With the price difference currently more than triple that figure and no import quota for sorghum currently in place in China, it is possible that imports could rise even further in the coming months.


Source: CCM and China Customs

US could lose market share

The US continues to supply the vast majority of China’s sorghum imports but is coming under increasing pressure from Australia and Argentina.

China sourced 95% of its sorghum from the US during the first five months of 2015, according to China Customs data, with Australia accounting for 4% and Argentina just 1%.

However, Argentinian and Australian sorghum are becoming increasingly price competitive and could gain market share in H2 2015.

In May, the price of Australian sorghum dropped below US prices for the first time, and Argentinian sorghum is cheaper still at under USD235/t.


Source: CCM and China Customs

Corn demand weakens further

Meanwhile, Chinese demand for imported corn continues to weaken, which could put more downward pressure on corn prices.

China imported just 140,700 tonnes of corn in April, less than 5% of the country’s total grain imports during that month, and China National Grain & Oils Information Center (CNGOIC) predicts that the country will substitute a total of over 16 million tonnes of corn for sorghum, DDGS or barley during 2014/15.

What’s more, CNGOIC forecasts that China’s corn imports will decrease a further 50% during 2015/16.

For more information on CCM and its coverage of China’s grain markets, please visit


Dulcoapetente D-6500 vs Sodium Saccharin

Sweeteners add sweetness to other substances or compounds. Their use is mainly intended to mask bad tastes, especially bitter tastes from plant origin or medications. We can divide sweeteners into natural or intensive. Regulation EU 1832/2003 only allows the use in piglets of natural sweeteners and, among the intensive, only saccharin and neohesperidin dihydrochalcone. As we all know the aftertaste of these two intense sweeteners is a drawback that may limit feed intake. Norel S.A. carried out a trial to assess the influence that saccharin aftertaste could have compared to Dulcoapetente D-6500, formulated with sodium saccharin, neohesperidin and flavoring substances to mask aftertaste. The trial tested a diet with 230 ppm of Dulcoapetente D-6500 versus a diet with 150 ppm of sodium saccharin (max. doses allowed in the EU) in piglets weaned at 21 days and with a basal diet containing amoxicillin 300ppm, colistin 200 ppm and zinc oxide 0,31%. The trial lasted 4 weeks. The obtained results showed a 6,5 % improvement on the weight gain in Dulcoapetente D-6500 piglets (15,73 kg vs. 14,76 kg in the saccharin treatment). Moreover, piglets that consumed the diet with Dulcoapetente D-6500 had an 11,5% higher ADG and a 3% better ADFI compared to the saccharin treatment. The feed conversion ratio was also improved by 8%. We can conclude that the product Dulcoapetente D-6500, containing flavoring ingredients to mask intense sweeteners aftertaste, can improve the productive parameters in weaned piglets.

Contact: Luis Mesas,

GUSTOR N’RGY, Zinc Bacitracin and their Combination on Gut

The objective of the study, presented in APPC 2014, was to evaluate the effect in broiler gut health of sodium butyrate protected with PFAD sodium salt (GUSTOR N’RGY), Zn Bacitracine (BMD) and their combination, in a control diet without any additive. A total of 160 Cobb one day old chickens were randomly allocated to 4 treatments: Control (T1), BMD supplemented (T2), N’RGY (T3) and BMD + N’RGY (T4). Every treatment was replicated 4 times and each replicate consisted of 10 chickens. Mash feeds and water were offered freely. At the end of each period (21 days and 42 days) one chicken per replicate was euthanized and samples from the ileum and caecum were taken to analyze gut microflora. Samples of duodenum, jejunum and ileum epitheliums were obtained in order to determine their development status. Data were analyzed as a completely randomized design by GLM of SPSS v. 19.0. The use of butyrate alone and in combination with BMD tended to reduce the count of E. coli in ileum at 21 days (T1=5.02×106 vs. T3=4.63×105; P=0.0932). BMD was also able to reduce the count of E. coli but when evaluating the epithelium variables a thinner mucosa was observed both in jejunum (683 µm) and ileum (627 µm) at 42 days when compared to the control treatment (760 µm in jejunum and 670 µm in ileum). This effect was not observed in the combination of BMD+butyrate (959 µm in jejunum and 809 µm in ileum). Also the longest ileum villi at ileum corresponded to the butyrate supplemented group (720 µm) vs control, BMD and combination respectively (487, 464 and 589 µm). It can be concluded that the use of sodium butyrate protected with PFAD sodium salts is able to modify gut microflora without affecting mucosa thickness and villi length when combined with Zn Bacitracin. If used alone, it improves GIT villi development.

Contact: Álvaro Ortiz, 


BIOMIN opens Aquaculture Center for Applied Nutrition in Vietnam

The grand opening ceremony of the new BIOMIN Aquaculture Center for Applied Nutrition at Nong Lam University in Ho Chi Minh City took place on 30 June 2015.

The new research center will drive research and development of innovative and effective solutions to pressing challenges in the industry.

More than 150 guests, including representatives from local government, academia, and the aquaculture industry attended the grand opening ceremony of the new 900m2 aquaculture research center at Nong Lam University in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

The new BIOMIN Aquaculture Center for Applied Nutrition (ACAN) signifies the continued collaborative efforts of BIOMIN in conducting innovative and impactful research, supported in partnership with the local government and university. It aims to provide effective solutions to the aquaculture industry with the focus on several key areas, namely:

•   Nutrition and feed formulation
•   Gut health and immune modulation
•   Waste management and feed safety

Research will be centered on several of the most important species for the aquaculture industry in the region including marine and fresh water species such as catfish, tilapia, sea bass and shrimp. BIOMIN will collaborate closely with Nong Lam University in research and development activities, coordinated by the BIOMIN Research Center in Tulln, Austria, and the technical staff at the facility.

The research facilities are equipped with five different cutting-edge recirculating systems and two challenge rooms. A feed formulation lab for preparation of test diets, including a lab scale feed extruder that will allow testing of different ingredients and solutions under conditions similar to those found in the aquaculture industry to conduct high-level science. The facility is a testament to the dedication of BIOMIN to the aquaculture industry.

In addition, SANPHAR, a veterinary products and services company, runs a state-of-the-art microbiological lab also located in Nong Lam University. SANPHAR and BIOMIN are both part of the ERBER Group.

Hendrix Genetics and NPM Capital join forces in animal breeding & life sciences

Hendrix Genetics, a leading, multi-species, animal genetics company, and NPM Capital, a subsidiary of family-owned, SHV Holdings, have completed an agreement that will advance the animal breeding sector. Through the issue of new shares, NPM has become a 25% minority shareholder in Hendrix Genetics, alongside existing shareholders. The Hendrix Family remains the majority and controlling shareholder.

Hendrix Genetics will continue to conduct its business under its current corporate governance and with its existing management team, strategy and structure. Its Vision 2020 plan, created last year, identified many opportunities to invest in R&D, capacity expansion and acquisitions to continue the company’s impressive growth of the last decade. The equity of NPM/SHV will enable Hendrix Genetics to accelerate the execution of its ambitious plan.

AGCO buys Farmer Automatic

AGCO has agreed buy Farmer Automatic from The Clark Companies. The deal includes the company’s manufacturing operations in Laer, Germany as well as its global distribution network.

GSI Protein Dealers will be unaffected by the acquisition of Farmer Automatic. Products will continue to be sold through their present distribution channels and the company will become part of the GSI/AGCO family of companies.


Eastman Chemical Co builds new plant

Eastman Chemical Co has broken ground on a choline chloride facility in Louisiana, USA.

Taminco Corporation and Balchem Corporation had originally planned a joint venture to build and operate the facility and market choline chloride produced at the site separately. Eastman, which bought Taminco in 2014, expects the manufacturing facility to be operational in late 2015.

Choline chloride is also used globally as a feed ingredient in animal nutrition for both pets and animal agriculture. Choline plays an essential role in fat metabolism, energy balance and reproduction, with proven effects in enhanced and accelerated growth during times of rapid development.

Cobb broiler producers convention

More than 120 delegates from 25 countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific attended the recent Cobb broiler seminar in Bangkok.

Cobb_v10n5reThe two-day seminar brought together the two regions for the first time, attracting support from Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Iran, Kuwait, UAE and Oman.  The Asia-Pacific region saw representatives from Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Myanmar, Taiwan, China, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The seminar topics included biosecurity, lighting, health, brooding, environment and regional trends, with specialist speakers from the Cobb World Technical Support Team, Cobb Asia and Cobb Europe.

In a related development, Cobb Vantress has officially opened a new regional Asia-Pacific office in Shanghai at the new office complex in SOHO Fuxing Plaza, a development in the central area of Xintiandi.

The office will be the base for the Cobb team operating across East Asia and the Pacific as well as supporting the Cobb grandparent operation currently being built in Hubei province in partnership with Hubei Tongxing Agriculture group.  The investment is designed to satisfy increased demand for Cobb parent stock in the Chinese market, currently supplied by Beijing Poultry Breeding Company. The grandparent farm will be operational in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Aviagen hosts hatchery performance school

aviagen_vol10n5_reThe first Aviagen® Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) School of 2015 took place in Istanbul, Turkey, recently with a module focused on optimising hatchery performance.

Now in its third year, it was the first time the educational event has been held in Turkey, where it welcomed 37 students from 23 countries including Canada, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, Hungary, France, Spain and Japan.

The module, which aims to strike a balance between classroom learning and practical demonstrations, was led by Dinah Nicholson, global manager for hatchery development and support.

The focus for the first day was on “Fertility and Hatching Egg Care” which included workshops run by two Aviagen incubation specialists. Day two looked at “The Science of Incubation” with insights into humidity, calibrations, temperature and turning. The third and fourth days covered “Incubation Conditions” and topics ranging from data handling, hatchery design, to chick transport and investigating hatch failure.