DON- How does deoxynivalenol (DON) affect feed intake in pigs

A well known response to the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON) is a reduction in feed intake. This is particularly the case in pigs. According to a meta-analysis (Andretta et al 2012) DON reduces feed intake by 26% in pigs.
DON is globally the most prevalent mycotoxin in pig diets and there are signs that this year’s harvest of certain crops is contaminated with significant levels of this mycotoxin. Feed intakes at risk with DON in 2016/17 harvest

What controls appetite?

One constant physiological factor of appetite control are certain gut peptides, of which cholecystokinin (CCK) is one of them. CCK is released in response to feed intake and sends signals to the brain contributing to the sensation of satiety, when it binds to certain receptors, such as CCK1R.

Scientific studies show that CCK1R antagonists increase meal size and food intake in experimental animals, and they increase hunger, meal size, and caloric intake in humans.

Physiological effects of CCK include stimulation of gastric acid, gallbladder and pancreatic secretion, decreased gastric motility and suppression of energy intake.

Researchers studied the control of eating by CCK in pigs extensively. As in humans, carbohydrates, proteins and lipids all stimulate CCK secretion in pigs. Active immunization against CCK increased food intake and body weight in pigs (Pekas and Trout 1990) confirming the importance of CCK in feed intake.

How does DON affect appetite?

More recent studies carried out in mice show that the decreased feed intake in mice in response to DON in the diet corresponds with a significant increase in CCK in mice compared to a control diet. Studies with a relevant antagonist known to bind to the same receptors as CCK report that the negative impact of DON on feed intake in mice can be reduced through the antagonist.

The conclusion was that CCK plays a major role in feed intake reduction in response to DON. DON exposure also elicited higher proinflammatory cytokine responses in mice, which could be another cause of DON-induced anorexia.

Test your knowledge on mycotoxins

Agility for competitive animal production in the EU

Animal producers and animal feed companies in the EU are facing tough times in a highly competitive and rapidly changing environment. Agile nutrition concepts are the next step towards more agile operations, maintaining a competitive edge and increasing efficiency. By Gwendolyn Jones, Anco Animal Nutrition Competence GmbH

The European livestock sector contributes €130bn annually to Europe’s economy and represents 48% of total agricultural activity. With the rapid growth of efficient farming businesses outside the EU, growth in productivity is essential for EU livestock farmers in order to stay competitive. According to a whitepaper by the Animal Task Force (ATF) this requires imaginative and innovative system approaches.

The ATF announced that one of the top priorities for competitive animal production in Europe is to improve resource efficiency of animals. This means more efficient and robust animals that are healthier, more resilient, have an increased well-being and have a lower feed conversion rate. Key to this for genetic selection will be identifying appropriate indicator traits that reflect improved resource-use efficiency. Furthermore, feeding management can have a significant impact on robustness and resilience of animals.

Dealing with the unexpected

Brexit- nobody really thought it would happen, but on the 24th of June this year the EU woke up to a Brexit decision by the British people. What that really means for the future is still uncertain. One thing is for sure, it will mean significant change for both the UK and the EU. How this is going to affect businesses, farming and agriculture is most definitely also going to be down to decision makers in management of organizations and how they will respond and adapt to a changing business and trading environment.

Businesses that are going to complain, resist or deny the change and just carry on with the same procedure as every year, are probably not going to do very well. Others that think: “Shit happens, change happens, but OK let’ s make a plan and deal with it!” are most likely to find ways to efficiently adapt to a changing business and trading environment and even find opportunities to benefit from the change. This is what organizational agility really is all about.

Organizational agility key to survival

Under today’s levels of uncertainty, ambiguity, volatility in the markets, and globalization, it is critical to be agile and quickly respond to change. Organizational agility is the capacity to anticipate change, respond, adapt quickly and thrive in a changing environment.
Given the rapid pace of technological development and growth of global competition, agility is the ability to move quickly and effectively in anticipating and taking advantage of change. It is essential to pick out fast what matters and act accordingly. Agile companies in the modern business world can maintain a competitive edge, despite significant business change in their environments.
A study by McKinsey found that 9 out of 10 executives said organizational agility was critical to business success and growing in importance over time. Given the challenges for animal production to remain competitive in the EU, organizational agility is precisely a capability increasingly also required by animal producers and feed millers.

Taking steps towards an agile operation

The American change management company PROSCI carried out research on what attributes agile organizations share that make them agile. The attributes where respondents scored the highest were:
1. We encourage cross-organizational collaboration
2. We anticipate and plan for changes
3. We have enhanced risk management practices

This is a starting point to generate ideas for steps to take to increase the agility of your organization. Organizational change management capability also showed up prominently as a crucial enabler of agility. So another step could be to start developing the change management capability of your organization.

In this article the focus is on what you can do at the animal level to increase the agility of your operation.

Advanced operational agility with agile nutrition concepts

Feed is the largest and most important component to ensuring safe, abundant and affordable animal protein. Animal nutrition is a crucial means to influence animal performance, production costs, product quality, environmental impact, animal health and welfare, and food security. Needless to say animal feeding plays an important role in livestock production systems and the pressure is on to quickly adapt animal nutrition to the challenges ahead and find new ways to meet increasing demands more sustainably, efficiently and at the same time taking the well-being of animals into account. All of which play a key role for consumers in the EU.

Agile nutrition concepts are concerned with the question, whether the natural ability of animals to adapt to nutritional challenges and other stressors can be deliberately accelerated and optimized to benefit animal performance and the agility of animal production systems.

Research in genetic selection shows that improving the ability of animals to cope with stressors is a better way of improving performance than selecting only for increased growth potential. Genetic selection is certainly going to play an important role for advancement in this capability of the animal. However, nutritional strategies supporting the speed and efficacy with which the animal adapts to stressors will bring a more immediate competitive advantage in animal production.

Agile nutrition concepts are an advanced step towards greater operational agility in animal protein production. The reality of the animal is, that it too faces unexpected changes in diet composition, feed raw materials and stressors such as mycotoxin contamination of feed. This again will lead to stress reactions at the cellular level, which will result in a reduction in production efficiency and can make the animal more prone to disease. It can also lead to reduced feed intake, resulting in reduced growth performance particularly in young animals.

The purpose of agile nutritional concepts is to empower the animal to adapt to nutritional stressors in a more energy efficient response and cope in such a way that negative impacts on performance are reduced.

Feeding for gut agility

The gut is particularly responsive to different stressors. That is why it makes sense to focus on the gut to empower animals to cope with stressors. A new approach to nutrition is to support the agility of the gut, i.e. its ability to adapt to stress factors efficiently. The agile gut is quicker to respond to prevent negative stress reactions, such as oxidative stress, loss in appetite, increased gut permeability and inflammation, which can cause waste of metabolic energy and increased risk of disease. Agile nutritional concepts are designed to empower animals to adapt to a variety of nutritional stress factors for more robust and energy-efficient animals. They rely on bioactive substances derived from plants, known to prevent some of the negative stress reactions seen at the cellular levels in response to stressors.

OUTCOME: more robust and efficient animals

Applying agile nutritional concepts to feed to support gut agility leads to more robust animals and greater efficiency in performance in the face of nutritional challenges, that are difficult to control, but are part of the reality of the animal and impact performance. The animal becomes more agile in the face of dietary challenges, resulting in more consistent high performance and well-being. This also helps to support the overall demand for agility in animal production operations to stay competitive in safe animal protein production.

Relevant publications

ANCO knowledge: 3 things to know about bentonites

Bentonite can be applied in animal nutrition to adsorb mycotoxins and reduce mycotoxin bioavailability from contaminated feeds in the animal’s gut. It is a fine clay material mined from the earth. Most bentonites are formed by the alteration of volcanic ash in marine environments and occur as layers sandwiched between other types of rocks (as can be seen in the image above).

Bentonite is defined as a naturally occurring material that is composed predominantly of the clay mineral smectite. The Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) and the specific surface area of smectites are considerable larger than other families of clays. Their absorption capacity is as much as 8 times greater than other clays.

However, there are a few things to know before applying bentonite to animal feed:
1. Not all bentonites are the same
2. Best proof of efficacy is still in vivo
3. Only one type of bentonite is EU approved for the adsorption of mycotoxins

1. Not all bentonites are the same

Bentonites are colloidal and plastic clay materials composed largely of montmorillonite (a species of dioctahedral smectite). The properties of bentonites can vary considerably depending on geological origin and any post-extraction modification. Their individual characteristics have a marked bearing on their economic use.

Despite the generic nomenclature of commercially-available bentonite, several physicochemical properties have been identified as having a possible correlation with adsorption of mycotoxins and might therefore be used to categorize the different available types.

These characteristics comprise:
• cation exchange capacity (CEC), exchangeable K+, Na+, Mg++ and Ca++,
• pH
• linear swelling,
• mineral fraction
• relative humidity
• d-spacing

Role of d-spacing for zearalenone adsorption

Adsorption to clays is not limited to the surface of the clay particles, but extends also to the interlayer space of the clay. This interlayer space, characterized by the d-spacing, can be determined with X-ray diffraction (XRD) and is restrictive for the formation of one or more adsorbent layers. This space can increase if the clay swells, thereby increasing the number of binding sites.
In vitro adsorption tests have shown that there is a positive correlation between zearalenone adsorption and d-spacing in commercially available products based on bentonite, i.e. large d-spacing was associated with higher % adsorption of zearalenone. (De Mil et al 2015). The d-spacing ranged from 9.2 to 21.5 (10-10 m) in 16 different products containing bentonite material, showing the large variation in material out there.

Difference between cis- and trans-bentonites for aflatoxin adsorption

Recent scientific data (Vekiru et al 2015) evaluating different types of bentonites for the in vitro adsorption efficacy relating to aflaxtoxin B1 has shown that most of the tested Ca- or Na-bentonites were effective. However, cis-bentonites were more effective than trans-bentonites.
Dioctahedral smectites that are found in bentonite have one vacant position in the octahedrons because one of the three symmetrically independent octahedral positions is not occupied by cations, resulting in a vacant site. The disposition of the hydroxyl groups in the octahedral sheet with respect to this vacancy defines the configuration cis- or trans-vacant.

2. Best proof of efficacy is still in vivo

In vitro experiments have been developed as a way to effectively pre-screen adsorption agents before testing in animals. However, results between in vitro and in vivo efficacy can vary significantly. Even among bentonites with high in vitro adsorption efficacy, there are differences in in vivo efficacy indicating that in vitro testing alone is not adequate for evaluation of adsorbents.

3. Only one type of bentonite is EU approved for the adsorption of mycotoxins

Currently 1m 558 bentonite has been approved as a substance for reduction of the contamination of feed by mycotoxins (aflatoxin B1) for pigs, poultry and ruminants according to EU regulation in the EU register for feed additives. The approval is based on safety of using the product and proven in vitro and in vivo adsorption efficacy of Aflatoxin.

This bentonite meets the following characteristics:
• Bentonite: ≥ 70 % smectite (dioctahedral montmorillonite)
• < 10 % opal and feldspar
• < 4 % quartz and calcite
• AfB 1-binding capacity (BC AfB1) above 90 %

At current recommended maximum inclusion level of this bentonite in animal feed, the binding of vitamins and minerals is insignificant.

Aflatoxin: How big is the threat of aflatoxins in poultry diets?

Aflatoxin is a secondary metabolite produced by toxigenic strains of A. flavus and A. parasiticus. Chemically, aflatoxins belong to the bifuranocoumarin group, with aflatoxins B1 (AFB1), B2 (AFB2), G1 (AFG1) and G2 (AFG2) being the most toxic. Liver is the main organ affected by these toxins.

Poultry is considered as the most susceptible animal species to aflatoxins. A meta-analysis (Andretta et al 2011) carried out on broiler performance in response to mycotoxins showed that aflatoxin (average concentration 0.95mg/kg of feed) and ochratoxin had the biggest effects on broiler performance. Aflatoxins on average significantly reduced feed intake by 10% and growth rate by 12%. Aflatoxins also significantly increased liver weight by 22% and the weight of kidneys, lungs, gizzard and the heart. Aflatoxins presented the most important effects of all mycotoxins on organ weight in broilers.

Occurrence of aflatoxins in feed ingredients

Global mycotoxin surveys for 2015 feed and feed ingredient samples revealed that 20% of complete diets were contaminated with Aflatoxin of which 5% at a level of Aflatoxins above risk threshold. The feed ingredient most frequently contaminated with aflatoxin above risk threshold level was corn.

Aflatoxin production occurs primarily in regions with tropical or subtropical climates. Hence, from a European perspective, imported feed such as peanut cake, palm kernel, copra and corn gluten meal (depending of origin) is considered to be the most common source of exposure.

A recent review (Pinotti et al 2016) on the global occurrence of mycotoxins states that aflatoxins are most often detected in Southern Europe, Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia (average values of positive samples higher than 30%).
Aflatoxin Occurrence_2016

Regulatory guidelines for aflatoxin limits in poultry diets

In Brazil, the presence of aflatoxins in corn is regulated by the Ministry of Agriculture through Decree 183 of March 21, 1996 and Resolution 274 of October 15, 2002 of the National Sanitary Surveillance Agency, which established a maximum limit of 20 μg/kg for the sum of aflatoxins B1, B2, G1 and G2.

In the EU the presence of undesirable substances (chemical contaminants) in feed is controlled by EC Directive 2002/32 (as amended). The Directive sets maximum permitted levels (MPLs) for substances that are present in, or on, animal feed that pose a potential danger to animal or human health or to the environment, or could adversely affect livestock production. Currently, aflatoxin B1 is the only mycotoxin with MPLs. MPLs of aflatoxin B1 have been set as low as reasonably achievable in order to protect animal and public health. The aflatoxin B1 limit for poultry diets in the EU is 20 μg/kg.

In the US the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established guidelines for the maximum toxin level that can be safely fed to the animal. See table below.

FDA’s action levels for aflatoxin in poultry feed
FDA aflatoxin guidelines
FDA aflatoxin guidelines

Mayor eficiencia en el rendimiento de los cerdos con agilidad intestinal

La aplicación de agilidad a la nutrición de los cerdos es un enfoque totalmente nuevo para una mayor rentabilidad en la producción animal competitive

Por Gwendolyn Jones
Traducción: Viviana Schroeder R

Los requerimientos nutricionales de cerdos con genotipo moderno están bien investigados. Sin embargo, muchos cerdos no alcanzan su potencial de rendimiento, a pesar de las dietas cuidadosamente formuladas. Esto puede ser debido a factores de gestión y / o medioambientales. Pero también hay factores nutricionales sobre los que tenemos menos control. Pueden dar lugar a toda una serie de reacciones de estrés en el animal y a eficacia subóptima en el rendimiento del cerdo. El hecho es que el cerdo estará sometido a factores estresantes durante toda su vida productiva.

Existe evidencia científica que sugiere que para la selección genética, mejorar la capacidad de los cerdos para hacer frente a los factores de estrés puede ser una mejor manera de mejorar el rendimiento de los cerdos que seleccionar sólo para un mayor potencial de crecimiento. Por lo tanto, el aumento de la capacidad del cerdo para adaptarse a los factores de estrés de manera más adecuada mediante la nutrición también ofrece una alternativa a la mejora de rendimiento de los animales. Lo más importante es que la capacidad del animal para hacer frente a los estresores también tendrá un impacto en el retorno de la inversión (ROI, por sus siglas en inglés) de la formulación de dietas y la rentabilidad del productor.

Ataque los estresores nutricionales
Tradicionalmente, los aditivos se han desarrollado para atacar posibles factores de estrés directamente en el tracto digestivo del animal. Por ejemplo, las enzimas degradan componentes no digeribles específicos como fitato y polisacáridos no amiláceos (NSP, por sus siglas en inglés) en el cerdo para liberar nutrientes atrapados y también reducir los posibles efectos secundarios negativos de estos componentes. ¿Qué pasa con componentes menos digeribles presentes en las dietas que no son blanco específico de las enzimas para alimentación animal?

Antibióticos promotores del crecimiento se han usado por su efecto anti-bacteriano contra ciertas bacterias patógenas. Sin embargo, en muchos países los antibióticos ya han sido prohibidos para uso rutinario en la alimentación animal. Más países están haciendo lo mismo, y hay una mayor necesidad de alternativas eficaces. El ágil intestino le ayuda al animal a adaptarse a los factores de estrés de manera más eficiente y a ser más robusto en vista de los desafíos dietéticos y los estresores.
Adsorbentes de micotoxinas y desactivadores de micotoxinas se están aplicando a las dietas para contrarrestar los efectos nocivos de las micotoxinas en el animal. Sin embargo, es bien sabido que la adsorción no es una estrategia eficaz para todas las micotoxinas. La biotransformación de micotoxinas en metabolitos no tóxicos solamente se dirigirá a ciertos tipos de micotoxinas y es poco probable que sea completa en el tracto digestivo del animal.

Adaptarse a los factores de estrés nutricional
La pregunta es, ¿Qué hace el animal con los factores estresantes que quedan al margen de las soluciones de alimentación altamente específicos mencionados anteriormente? El cerdo tiene que ser más ágil. Como se mencionó con antelación, se pueden lograr mayores resultados en el rendimiento de los cerdos mediante la mejora de la habilidad del cerdo para hacer frente a los estresores. Eso significa que el cerdo tiene que ser capaz de adaptarse más rápido y más adecuadamente a cambios en la dieta y a los factores de estrés para un rendimiento eficiente. La selección genética va a jugar un papel importante para avanzar en esta capacidad del cerdo. Las estrategias nutricionales que apoyan la velocidad y la eficacia con la que el cerdo se adapta a los estresores traerá una ventaja competitiva más inmediata en la producción porcina.

La agilidad en el negocio
Cuando la medida del rendimiento es la rentabilidad, unas pocas empresas grandes en todas las industrias superan constantemente a sus iguales durante períodos prolongados, e incluso mantienen esa ventaja encarando cambios empresariales significativos en sus entornos competitivos. El único factor que tienen en común es la agilidad – se adaptan con éxito. La agilidad es una capacidad que permite a una organización para responder de manera oportuna, eficaz y sostenible cuando las circunstancias cambiantes así lo requieran. Las investigaciones realizadas en el Instituto de Tecnología de Massachusetts sugieren que las empresas ágiles generan 30 por ciento más ganancias que las empresas no ágiles. Otro estudio identificó una mayor eficiencia como un beneficio significativo de una mayor agilidad de la organización.

Agilidad intestinal en los cerdos
La aplicación del concepto de agilidad en el cerdo puede ayudar a desarrollar aún más la eficiencia en la producción porcina. El intestino y el sistema inmunológico son particularmente sensibles a los factores de estrés, de ahí que el énfasis está en el intestino cuando se habla de mejorar la respuesta adaptativa del animal. La agilidad intestinal es un nuevo término acuñado para describir la capacidad del cerdo para adaptarse a los estresores nutricional con una respuesta más eficiente energéticamente y más rápido de lo normal.

Lo que funciona
A medida que las plantas evolucionaron desarrollaron muy sofisticados mecanismos de adaptación a los factores estresantes y las amenazas potenciales para mejorar la supervivencia. Contienen una multitud de sustancias bioactivas, con una variedad de propiedades, tales como anti-oxidantes, anti-inflamatorias, anti-microbianas, anti-virales y aromáticas. La combinación de las muchas sustancias hace que las plantas sean polivalentes ante diferentes factores de estrés. Por tanto, es lógico pensar en la aplicación de extractos de plantas con las estrategias nutricionales desarrolladas para capacitar a los cerdos para adaptarse a los factores de estrés. Las sustancias derivadas de las plantas ya han demostrado ser muy eficaz en la naturaleza, ayudando a las plantas a ser más ágiles para hacer frente a los estresores y amenazas a la supervivencia. Sin embargo, la velocidad de la agilidad intestinal, con el apoyo de sustancias bioactivas en la alimentación, dependerá de encontrar la combinación óptima adecuada para el cerdo y sus desafíos.

La combinación de estrategias nutricionales con parámetros de selección genética de interés para mejorar la agilidad del tracto gastrointestinal del cerdo podría contribuir a la producción de carne más segura y más rentable en vista de la creciente presión de los consumidores para las dietas libres de antibióticos.

Read ANCO´s first publication in WATT Pig International, May/June 2016

Agile concepts are known to drive the speed of growth and competitive advantage in the modern business world. The application of agility to animal nutrition is an entirely new approach for more profitability in competitive animal production.

Gut agility is a new term coined to describe the animal’s ability to adapt to nutritional stressors in a faster and more energy-efficient response than it normally would.

Gwendolyn Jones writes about applying agile concepts in pig nutrition in the following article, published by WATT Pig International May/June issue and WATT Feed Management May/June


Higher efficiency in pig performance with gut agility

ANCO launches a new nutritional concept dedicated to competitive animal production globally

Anco Animal Nutrition Competence GmbH, goes global with ANCO® FIT to support gut agility. In the face of increasing consumer pressure for antibiotic-free animal diets, supporting gut agility by nutritional means contributes to more robust animals as well as safer and more profitable meat production

Andreas Kern, Executive Director of ANCO commented: “We look forward to make a contribution to what matters most to feed manufacturers and producers to remain profitable in the production of safe feed and food.” Andreas founded ANCO in November 2015, after 30 years with Biomin, acting as their CEO globally for the past 5 years.

Applying agile concepts can help to further develop efficiency in animal production. Gut agility is a new approach in animal nutrition and describes the animal’s ability to adapt to nutritional stressors in a faster and more energy-efficient response than it normally would. It is also a cost-effective solution to empower animals to cope with mycotoxins in feed more adequately.

ANCO Animal Nutrition Competence GmbH (www.anco.net) is a feed additive company based in Austria. ANCO aims to design cost-effective feed solutions for swine, poultry and ruminants to live up to their performance potential efficiently. The company maintains its focus and what matters most to the customer and what works best for animals to support competitive animal production.