How to improve pig diet quality by using enzymes - part II
Dr Ioannis Mavromichalis
Non-starch polysaccharides, like beta glucans and arabinoxylans, generally
reduce the nutritive value of cereals and of diets. Enzyme preparations
can be used for this purpose, but are not always useful.
In this second episode, I shall explain when they are and when
Click here to see part I
is quite difficult or impractical to determine the exact level of non-starch
polysaccharides before feeding a specific batch of cereals to pigs.
this end, it is strongly recommended to use an enzyme preparation when the
origin of cereals is unknown and/ or of suspected quality, or when the pigs
appear unthrifty and exhibit deteriorated feed efficiency and/or signs of
looseness in fecal consistency, due to a recent change in type or source of
Kind of cereal
The proper enzyme to use depends on the
kind of the main cereal in the diet. For example, as barley is rich in
beta-glucans it is recommended to use a beta-glucanase (enzyme) in diets based
solely or mainly in barley.
In contrast, wheat is rich predominantly in
arabinoxylans, and thus such diets should be enhanced with a xylanase (enzyme).
When both cereals are used in the same diet, then an enzyme 'cocktail' is
preferable to counter the effects of both types of non-starch
In my opinion, when a cereal is used in levels below
10-15% in any pig diet, an enzyme preparation specific to this cereal is not
likely to confer any beneficial results. Regarding the selection of the
appropriate commercial product (brand), it is unfortunate that there is no
public information regarding the comparative value of available
Use any brand
Therefore, it is recommended to use any
brand among the most respectable products in the market at the appropriate level
recommended by the supplier.
But, before selecting an appropriate enzyme
preparation (brand) for use in pig diets, the cost/benefit ratio should be
First, the cost of use (and not the cost per kg of
enzyme) should be established based on the enzyme price and its recommended
dosage. Thus, the cost of enzyme supplementation per Kg or MT of complete feed
should be known and a list of similar figures be prepared for any competitive
Weigh the expected benefit
Then, the expected
benefit from the use of enzymes must be carefully weighed against the cost of
this nutritional intervention strategy. To this effect, it is best to assume
that, on average, the use of a suitable enzyme will confer to the diet about 50
Kcal metabolizable energy per kilogramme complete feed.
any comparative research data, it is difficult to assert the exact level of
energy contribution under specific conditions.
Finally, the savings in
energy, expressed as the cost of animal fat or vegetable oil required to supply
these 50 Kcal, should obviously be less than the cost of using
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