Jose E. Ferrer, Jr.
Jose E. Ferrer, Jr.
Coral Gables, Florida, United States

Agra-C Microencapsulated Vitamin C for Poultry and Swine


Specialized Microencapsulated Vitamin C for Poultry and Swine

Why Use Agra-C in Poultry

The growing concern over the transmission and the proliferation of resistant bacteria via the food chain has led to a ban of the feed use of antibiotic growth promoters (AGP) in livestock within the European Union since 2006. As a result, new commercial additives derived from plants including aromatic plant extracts and their purified constituents have been exanimated as part of alternative feed strategies for the future. Such products have several advantages over commonly used commercial antibiotics since they are residue free and they are also, generally recognized as safe and commonly used items in the food industry (Varel, 2002). These botanicals have received increased attention as possible growth performance enhancers for animals in the last decade. Apart from their traditional use, a host of beneficial effects have been reported by experimental studies during the past three decades. Among these are their beneficial influence on lipid metabolism, ability to stimulate digestion, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, and anti-inflammatory potential (Acamovic and Brooker, 2005). Besides antibacterial properties, EOs or their components have been shown to exhibit hypolipidemic (Srinivasan, 2004), antioxidant (Kempaiah and Srinivasan, 2002 and Botsoglou et al., 2004), digestive stimulant (Platel and Srinivasan, 2004), antiviral (Bishop, 1995), antimycotic (Jayashree and Subramanyam, 1999 and Mari et al., 2003), antitoxigenic (Ultee and Smid, 2001 and Juglal et al., 2002), antiparasitic (Pandey et al., 2000 and Pessoa et al., 2002), and insecticidal (Konstantopoulou et al., 1992 and Karpouhtsis et al., 1998) properties as well as inhibition of odor and ammonia control (Varel, 2002).

Among the candidate replacements for antibiotics are organic acids, both individual acids and blends of several acids. Like antibiotics, short-chain organic acids also have a specific antimicrobial activity. Unlike antibiotics, the antimicrobial activity of organic acids is pH dependent. Organic acids have a clear and significant benefit in weanling piglets and have been observed to benefit poultry performance. Organic acids have antimicrobial activity; however, there appear to be effects of organic acids beyond those attributed to antimicrobial activity. Reductions in bacteria are associated with feeding organic acids, which are particularly effective against acid-intolerant species such as E. coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter. Both antibiotics and organic acids improve protein and energy digestibilities by reducing microbial competition with the host for nutrients and endogenous nitrogen losses, by lowering the incidence of subclinical infections and secretion of immune mediators, and by reducing production of ammonia and other growth-depressing microbial metabolites. Organic acids have several additional effects that go beyond those of antibiotics. These include reduction in digesta pH, increased pancreatic secretion, and trophic effects on the gastrointestinal mucosa (J. J. Dibner and P. Buttin, 2002).

What Makes Agra-C the Better Choice

In Agra-C, the microencapsulation matrix is comprised of these essential oils and organic acids, which coats the ascorbic acids in its matrixes that are sensitive to each layer of the digestive tract with their acidic environments.

Pure Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a naturally occurring organic compound with antioxidant properties that is unstable when subject to feed processing of any sort, which loses stability rapidly. Vitamin C in other words is very unstable.

It oxidizes rapidly when exposed to air and heat. Raw Vitamin C is unstable, loses its potency when subjected to feed processing, heat and air. It oxidizes rapidly.

Microencapsulated Vitamin C is a stabilized form of Vitamin C that can withstand the rigors of feed processing and remains intact when fed.

The preferred form of Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) to use depends upon feed processing conditions and to some extent the specie fed. For cold pelleted diets, our 70% Ascorbic Acid which is physically stabilized using high quality microencapsulation technology is the product of choice, as enzymes present in the feed matrix can cleave the phosphate groups off chemically stabilized ascorbic acid, lowering its overall stability. For team pelleted diets, both technologies can be effective and comparable on a cost in use basis. However, for species with short intestinal tracts such as shrimp, 70% AGRA-C has been shown to be completely bioavailable, whereas the competitor’s chemically stabilized Ascorbic Acid  may not be completely available due to incomplete cleavage of the phosphate esters off the Ascorbic Acid molecule. AGRA-C is delivering 70% of PURE ASCORBIC ACID with 94% bioavailability.

Phosphorylated Ascorbic Acid such as Stay-C is water insoluble, resistant to feed processing conditions and are approximately 35%-40%. As opposed to chemically stabilized Ascorbic Acid which can become unstable due to humidity, heat and light during storage, which affects bioavailability, AGRA-C has a thin coating around each particle of the matrix which makes it stable even when exposed to environmental conditions. This greatly diminishes poultry response to heat stressors that diminishes immunity, feed intake, weight gain, egg production, number of chicks per hen, hatchability of fertile eggs, egg and carcass quality, mineral balance, and increases panting and mortality and affects semen quality and fertility in male birds. Therefore, environmental conditions will not change the bioavailability of AGRA-C and greatly the affects of heat stress reactions.

Product Description:

AGRA-C Ascorbic Acid 70% consists of a white to off-white, fine beadlets. Each gram of AGRA-C Ascorbic Acid 70% is manufactured to contain 600 gm of Ascorbic A, USP in matrix of components of vegetable origin which is Non-Genetically Modified.

Stability: AGRA-C Ascorbic Acid 70 % is physically and chemically stable when stored in dry, cool place at a controlled room temperature between 50 to 86 degrees F or 15 to 30 degrees C. Agra-C is heat stable depending on the exposure time, i.e. for steam pelleting it is stable up to 82 degrees C for ten minutes and has an average heat stability between 70-75 degrees C.