At the end of the last article entitled – Relationship between Clostridium perfringens and the immune system of broilers – it was said that a responsive immune system demands a large amount of energy, thanks to the complex reactions of pathogen recognition, production of cytokines, antibodies among other actions and mainly the inflammatory process. And as a result, zootechnical performance is compromised.
When growth-promoting antibiotics (APCs) are used, the aim is to mitigate inflammatory processes and reduce the responsiveness of the immune system, and this occurs through the action of antibiotics at the intestinal level. The mechanisms of action of APCs are not yet fully understood, but it is known that the changes induced by APCs reduce the intestinal microbiota, drastically limiting their effects, whether positive or negative. This may include altering competition for nutrients, preventing colonization of pathogens, and/or selecting bacteria capable of extracting more energy from the diet. However, cross-microbial resistance is attributed to this chemical group, thus worrying human and animal medicine, giving rise to the ONE HEALTH concept. And to help reduce its use, in 2020 Brazil banned three performance-enhancing additives, namely tylosin, lincomycin, and tiamulin, and the ban on others in circulation is expected in the coming years, namely avilamycin, Zn bacitracin, bacitracin methylene desalicylate, enramycin, and spiramycin.
However, there are numerous ways to seek an improvement in animal performance. Taking care of the quality of ingredients and the formulation of diets is essential. In soy, and some co-products, we can find allergenic proteins, represented by conglycinin and B-conglycinin, the latter being more reactive, with greater influence on the immune response. The presence of these proteins can cause inflammation in the intestinal tissue, compromising digestion and absorption and opening the door to possible pathogens. They are also responsible for hypersensitivity reactions against soy, in addition to the acceleration of protein turnover in the renewal of villi/crypts.
Therefore, ingredients such as Soy Protein Concentrate (RPSOY), free of allergenic proteins and with a high biological value and amino acid digestibility normally of 5 to 10%, above their peers on the market, can prevent this activation of the immune system ineffectively, when used in starter diets.
Antinutritionals and Enzymes
Anti-nutritional factors and non-starch polysaccharides – NAPs present in plant ingredients that make up the diet can have negative effects on the intestinal health of chickens and pigs. PNAs are the main components of the cell wall present in plant cells, however, due to the nature of chemical bonds, animals cannot access these nutrients.
In addition to the impairment of digestion caused by the intestinal flow conditions induced by PNAs, the presence of undigested fiber fragments contributes negatively to the inflammatory state of the enteric mucosa. Diets rich in PNAs can cause physical damage and induce epithelial cells to apoptosis (programmed cell death). The presence of abrasive and anti-nutritional fibers can stimulate the innate immune system to increase the proliferation of macrophages, and the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, consequently, a higher metabolic cost to support the immune system, with an inverse correlation to animal performance.
As a strategy, we can add exogenous enzymes to diets, to improve the use of ingredients rich in PNAs, or anti-nutritional factors such as phytic acid. Enzymes improve digestibility, reduce the amount of excreta and the presence of pollutants, such as phytic phosphorus. Another beneficial point is the reduction of digesta viscosity, altering the intestinal microbiota and balancing fermentation in the small intestine. The breakdown of cell wall bonds allows for better fermentation by the cecal microbiota, producing short-chain fatty acids that are a great source of energy for intestinal cells.
Also Read: Avian Coccidiosis
Microbiology of raw materials
The predominantly tropical climate throughout Brazil provides ideal conditions for the proliferation of pathogenic microorganisms in poorly stored and transported ingredients, especially cereals. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has established standards and guidelines for risk management of toxins and microorganisms transmissible via animal feed. The presence of these microorganisms such as bacteria (Salmonella ssp., Clostridium spp., Escherichia coli, etc.), fungi such as Aspergillus, Penicillium, Alternaria, and Fusarium, in addition to compromising the health of animals and humans, reduces the quality of ingredients.
Fungi, in a special way, can produce metabolites toxic to animals and humans, these metabolites are known as mycotoxins.
Certain organic acids, such as propionic acid and its salts (Na and Ca propionate) and formic acid, have proven to be effective in preventing mold growth and spoilage of feed and cereals. These organic acids are used widely, not only to improve animal nutrition but also to improve gut health.
Salmonella sp. is another pathogen of importance in the poultry and swine industry and is because Salmonellosis is one of the main zoonoses for public health. And organic acids (including formic acid) play a central role in preventing the proliferation and contamination of food for animals and humans. And despite the preservative power of organic acids, some of them are weak acids and are safe to handle (especially when buffered) compared to inorganic acids.
Metagenomic Analysis with 16S rRNA Genes – M-TGI ID Livestock
Metagenomic analyzes seek to highlight the balance between the populations of microorganisms responsible for fermentation in the small intestine and intestinal fermentation in the large intestine.
In this panorama exposed so far, it can be noted that animal production is under complex microbiological interactions, and understanding these relationships helps to seek sustainable forms of production with full attention to biosecurity. The evolution of various technologies has allowed us to answer key questions such as which microorganisms and genes are present, possible functions, and what they are capable of doing. Metagenomics analyzes DNA sequences, extracted directly from an environmental sample, and provides biological information relevant to most organisms.
Among the existing techniques, the least financially and computationally expensive is the sequencing of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene (16S rRNA). This approach targets specific genes that allow taxonomic classification and estimation of bacterial microbiome diversity.
We have a metagenomic analysis service, M-TGI ID Livestock. For any questions please contact via WhatsApp or contact form.