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The Liver, a Key Organ in Poultry Production

Published on: 7/27/2021
Author/s : Maria Soriano

The liver is the biochemical center of the organism, involved in multiple metabolism and homeostasis functions. Its importance in the poultry production is undeniable because of its role on the protein synthesis and, therefore, on meat and egg production, as well as on the immune response of the animal to vaccination and diseases. Any challenge affecting this organ will have a negative impact in the productivity of growing and laying birds.

The use of liver conditioner pronutrients aim to enhance liver physiology, ensure the protein synthesis and the proper performance of birds and the availability of protein of animal origin to comply with the increasing demand of consumers.

  1. THE LIVER FUNCTIONS AND ITS IMPORTANCE

The liver is a multifunctional organ that has essential functions in birds, including:

-          Detoxification: it eliminates toxic agents, like microorganisms, mycotoxins and drugs, and toxic metabolites of the body, like free radicals.

-          Synthesis and metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, linked to muscle and egg production, as well as blood proteins, enzymes and immune factors.It also has a role in bile production and secretion to ensure a correct digestion of the fats.

-          Storage of nutrients like fat soluble vitamins and glycogen.

The Liver, a Key Organ in Poultry Production - Image 1

Any substance disrupting the liver physiology will negatively impact on feed conversion and final weight in broiler chickens, and the laying rate and the internal egg quality in breeders and layers. In addition, it will increase the susceptibility to infections, the overall mortality and treatment costs.

Therefore, hepatotoxic substances pose a great danger because of their effects on productivity of the farm, as well due to their implications in food safety due to their presence in products of animal origin, as in the case of mycotoxins.

    2.  LIVER CHALLENGES

The liver is constantly in contact with toxic substances and microorganisms that can affect its activity, due to its detoxifying function. Any agent that worsens the liver activity will reduce the detoxification function of the organ and thus, will boost the toxic effect of other agents.

Among the toxic molecules that may threat the liver, mycotoxins and drugs (antibiotics and coccidiostats, among others) are the most important ones in the broiler production of Southeast Asia. Microorganisms and metabolic overload, like fatty liver syndrome, should also be highlighted.

The abusive use of antibiotics, especially for growth promoting purposes, can affect the hepatocytes once they metabolize these substances. Mycotoxins can have a direct hepatotoxic effect, as it occurs with aflatoxin and ochratoxin, causing liver necrosis, or an indirect effect derived from their metabolization, as it occurs with zearalenone and fumonisin. Co-occurrence of those mycotoxins in feed is relatively frequent in Southeast Asia due to the humidity and temperature conditions that favor the growth of toxigenic fungi, and the synergistic activity between mycotoxins should always be considered.

The Liver, a Key Organ in Poultry Production - Image 2

   3.  STRATEGIES TO AVOID THE IMPAIRMENT OF THE LIVER FUNCTION

The promotion and protection of the liver function is key to obtain the desired performance results of our flocks and, therefore, to reduce the effect of the above challenges in the farm economy.

To maintain the liver function, the combination of management and nutritional measures, like assessment of fat formulation and raw materials quality, and reduction in the use of drugs, can be combined with the use of several feed additives:

-          Natural antioxidants, like AlquerfeedEsevital, based on vitamin E and selenium, are of special interest in diets with high fat content to prevent the formation of free radicals and the oxidation of vitamins and carotenes, and avoid the accumulation of synthetic antioxidants in fat.

-          Mycotoxin binders should be carefully assessed to prevent mycotoxin absorption and liver damage. The election of the proper binder should consider a highly specific molecule with a low effective dose and a wide spectrum of action and, as it occurs with Silicoglycidol, an optimized silicate patented by Biovet S.A.

-          Liver conditioner pronutrients, active molecules of plant origin in AlquernatLivol, are intended to enhance the liver function and its recoveryafter a challenge.

 4.  IMPROVEMENT OF THE LIVER STATUS AND PRODUCTIVE PERFORMANCE WITH ALQUERNAT LIVOL

In commercial farms, it is practically impossible to completely eliminate hepatotoxic compounds, so our work should focus on protecting the organ and alleviate the effect of those challenges. This can be accomplished with AlquernatLivol.

AlquernatLivol is a natural supplement based on liver conditioner pronutrients, plant-derived compounds with a metagenetic mechanism of action, which stimulate the hepatocytes renovation and improve their functionality, enhancing nutrients metabolization and synthesis, promoting the resistance of the organ to toxic compounds and their elimination and cell regeneration after a challenge.

AlquernatLivol has demonstrated to be an effective solution in poultry:

-          Broiler chicken: it improves weight gain and feed conversion.

-          Laying hens: it improves the laying rate and egg internal quality and reduces the prevalence of fatty liver syndrome of nutritional origin.

-          Breeding hens: it improves the laying rate and hatched eggs thanks to a better quality of chicks.

The positive effect of AlquernatLivol improves the performance and the concentration of plasmatic transaminases, which are considered as markers of the liver status.

In the field, AlquernatLivol achieved higher weight (+22 g/animal), better FCR (-0.043 points) and lower mortality (0.59 points), compared to a group that did not receive pronutrients (Chart 1), when administered continuously to 50,000 broiler chickensuntilday 35 of age. Furthermore, the use of AlquernatLivol reduced AST and ALT levels over 10% compared to other products with similar indications.

Chart 1. Performance results observed in 35 days-old broiler chickens that did and did not receive AlquernatLivol.

The Liver, a Key Organ in Poultry Production - Image 3

CONCLUSIONS

The liver is a key organ for the profitability of the poultry production due to its role in the synthesis and metabolism of nutrients intended for muscle and egg formation and its impact on the immune status.

The liver is subjected to constant stress in the highly productive poultry breeds used in intensive farming and is constantly in contact with toxic substances and microorganisms that can affect its functionality.

To maintain a healthy bird and maximize its performance, this organ should be kept in an excellent condition. It is important to use high-quality ingredients, as well as to complement the feed formulas with feed additives like antioxidants, mycotoxin binders for mycotoxin risk management, and liver conditioner pronutrients.

AlquernatLivol, based on liver conditioner pronutrients,is a natural solution to improve the liver functionality, boost its resistance to toxics and accelerate its recovery. The use of this solution helps to increase final weight in broilers by 1.2% while reducing feed conversion and mortality by 2.9% and 18%, respectively. It therefore improves production efficiency and has a very positive economic impact for farmers.

 

 
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