The use of enzymes is profitable for producers and environmentally friendly

Published on: 12/16/2019
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Enzymes in animal feed began to be used in the 80s. The pioneer countries were the Scandinavians, Great Britain, Canada and, particularly, Spain. The first food sector that reacted dramatically was poultry farming.

The application of enzymes became total in the production of meat chickens in the 1990s. Poultry farming located in areas of cereal production with a high content of non-starchy polysaccharides (PNAs), components of difficult digestion by the enzymes of the chickens (endogenous), was the most receptive to the use of enzymes with high capacity for hydrolysis of these components at the digestive level and that produce intestinal viscosity.

By 2019, the market value of enzymes for animal production will reach 1280 million dollars, with a growth rate of 7.6% for the period between 2014-2019.

Most enzymes are produced by submerged fermentation using industrial cultures of genetically modified microorganisms.

However, there are enzymes extracted from animal tissues or plants. The current enzymatic production process requires the following steps:

• Enzyme selection.

• Selection of the producing strain.

• Construction of a genetically engineered strain.

• Culture medium optimization.

• Optimization of recovery and purification processes.

• And formulation of a stable final product.

In animal feed, they must be heat-resistant to survive feed manufacturing conditions and be most effective under the digestive conditions of the target animal.

The producing strains must have the GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) certification in the USA and the QPS (Qualified Presumption of Safety) in Europe. They must be safe for both the animal, the consumer and the environment.

The selected organisms must be able to produce a high volume of enzyme and that it reaches levels of 50 grams per liter of extracellular protein.

Most enzymes are produced by fungi such as Aspergillus, Trichoderma, Penicillium or by bacteria such as Streptomyces, Bacillus Subtilis or Bacillus licheniformis. At present, the production processes are based on the use of genetically modified microorganisms.

As digestibility enhancers, we have the enzymes with the ability to hydrolyze the nonstarchy polysaccharides present in cereals, such as β-glucanases, xylanases, arabinoxylanases, cellulases, etc.

In the case of phytases, enzymes with the capacity to hydrolyze the phytic phosphorus present in cereals, can be considered both within the group of digestibility improvers, and in the functional subgroup of environmental improvers.

The application of enzymes in poultry and pig production has allowed to improve the nutritional availability of feed in a very remarkable way.

Today we can indicate that, in general, the incorporation of enzymes can improve livestock productivity with very acceptable economic ratios.

Meat chickens can be fed diets without corn intake. The inclusion of cereals that provide high viscosity (barley, rye, wheat) are used without negative consequences.

Both pigs and birds can reduce the inclusion of inorganic phosphorus in diets and maintain productive parameters, using appropriate phytases.

Exogenous enzymes are also natural proteins, produced by controlled microbial fermentation, and work under the same principles as endogenous enzymes. Like their endogenous counterparts, they also require adequate substrate and correct pH conditions to exert their full effect. In addition, there are a few other requirements for exogenous enzymes: they must be stable under various feed processing and storage conditions, they must be safe for human operators, and of course, their use should improve profitability for the producer of animals.

Today, we can easily expect a 10% improvement in phosphorus digestibility by a modern phytase. Similarly, a glucanase, xylanase or amilase enzyme can improve the metabolizable energy in the diet by 50 kcal/kg, or even more (up to 150 kcal/kg, it is reasonable in low quality cereals). Finally, a protease improves the digestibility of the protein by about 2-5% depending on the type of ingredients used. In the animal industry where profit margins are small, such improvements as those conferred by exogenous enzymes are indeed substantial.

Enzymes are natural, safe, and important for the animal. Supplementation in feed improves the process of digestion, and reduces the amount of nutrients excreted in feces. This, in turn, improves animal performance, profitability and reduces environmental pollution.

Most commercial enzymes are phytase, xylanase, beta-glucanase and mannanase, although amylases and proteases are being used more frequently and successfully.

Commercial enzymes:

• Xylanases- improves digestion of arabinoxylanes

• Beta-glucanases-improves digestion of beta-glucans.

• Alfa-amylase-improves starch digestion.

• Proteases or peptidases-improves digestion of proteins and amino acids.

• Phytase-improves digestion of phytates.

• Lipases -Improves lipid digestion.


The challenge for nutritionists is to provide adequate nutrition for an immature intestinal system.

Non-starchy polysaccharides (PNAs) complicate this process, hampering nutrients and interfering with their digestibility.



Profit margins > 10 US / Ton Feed.

• Improves weight and conversion.

• Allows increase inclusion: Bran, DDGs.

• Decreases nutritional variation ingredients.

• Improves intestinal health.

• Lower humidity.

• Reduce environmental pollution.

• Return on investment (ROI).



-The response of the enzymes is not additive, however, the action is synergistic.

-Enzymes release prebiotics.

-Enzymes have effects on immunity and intestinal health.

-Enzymes do not solve the problems of feed manufacturing, handling, health and environmental stress.

-The use of monocomponent enzymes, gives us a greater security of the substrates/enzymes ratio, because the ingredients of the ration and the quantity and quality of the substrates are taken into account and thus achieve enzymatic blending or mixing according to the needs of the customers.

-We need an industrial lipase that is effective.

-An enzymatic mixture to improve the digestibility of cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin and lignin is favorable to increase the levels of inclusion of fibrous ingredients in monogastric animals.

-Enzymes reduce the amount of substrate in the final part of the intestine that feeds the pathogenic bacteria very important with the trends of antibiotic reduction and possibly zinc oxide.

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