Feed challenges in South East Asia
Microbiological quality of feed intended for animal consumption is a relevant factor in the livestock industry because of the effect it has on the health status and productive efficiency of the animals, but also for the potential impact it may have on public health.
As it occurs worldwide, there are multiple microbiological challenges that can negatively affect the feed quality in South East Asia. Main difference present in the region compared to others is the climate, which is mainly of two types: tropical and equatorial, characterized by constant high temperatures (over 30ºC) and high relative humidity (which exceeds 80% for long periods of the year).
These weather conditions have a high influence on the growth of microorganisms that can spoil raw materials and feed and decrease the nutritional value, especially fungi, which prevalence in feed samples is considerably high. Furthermore, bacterial contamination is also a threat, linked to environmental contamination or caused by floods in the monsoon seasons. Most common fungal contamination is caused by Aspergillus spp. (around 70% of the samples) and Fusarium spp.
Control of microbiological challenges in feed in the region
Contamination of balanced feed can come from the raw materials (prior or after the harvest), at time of manufacture of finished feed (grinding, mixing), and also at time of storage and transport. Therefore, control of feed contamination should include good hygiene and management practices from the grain production till the feeding time. From the point of the livestock industry, measures should be taken at feedmill site and at farm site.
Hygiene and management may allow to reduce the microbial load in feed, but the risk keeps being present. Because of this, there are additional treatments that should be applied in the raw materials and finished feed to ensure its correct microbiological quality. Commonly used solutions are feed preservatives.
Traditionally, mould inhibitors and acidifiers are widely used in South East Asia for this purpose. Common compounds are based on organic acids or salts, like ammonium propionates and formates, acetic and phosphoric acids. As the spectrum of action of one acid might be reduced, different acids are usually combined to slightly expand the spectrum of action. Additionally, mould inhibitors, or acidifiers, have some other limitations to be mentioned:
- They are bacteriostatic and fungistatic solutions: they inhibit bacterial and fungal growth but are not able to kill microorganisms present in feed.
- Their effectivity is limited in time: after one or two months, microorganisms can adapt to the presence of the mould inhibitor and use the acids as a source of energy.
- Acid formulations can have a corrosive effect on machinery and can be harmful to workers.
The limitations of mould inhibitors, together with the extreme weather conditions in South East Asia, has led to the misconception of using several mold inhibitors simultaneously and at high dosage to try to control microbial growth, despite of the high cost of such methodology. In addition, the problem is usually not completely solved.
Alquermold Natural: the best choice for feed preservation in South East Asia
Technical experiences in the region have demonstrated that traditional utilisation of organic acids is not the most effective solution for the control of fungi and bacteria in feed. Instead of it, Alquermold Natural is a natural solution that complies with the requirements needed for feed preservation in the region.
Alquermold Natural is based on the synergistic effect of cimenol ring and citric acid. Cimenol ring is a molecule of botanical origin with microbiocidal activity, able to eliminate a wide spectrum of pathogenic microorganisms in feed. Its activity is potentiated thanks to its combination with citric acid, ensuring a long-lasting effect of up to six months.
Therefore, Alquermold Natural has several advantages compared to organic acids, as it is demonstrated to be effective against fungi, like FusariumandAspergillus, yeasts, like Candida, and bacteria, like Clostridium perfringens, Salmonella and E. coli. In addition, it is a solution which has a low reactivity, meaning it is not corrosive nor toxic, and it is safe for all animal species and productive stages and for humans.
The natural antimicrobial activity of Alquermold Natural can be used for feed preservation and, furthermore, for the control of pathogenic microorganisms in the gut. This means that by the inclusion of Alquermold Natural in the diet, the microbiological challenges in feed and in the digestive tract are controlled, digestive infections are prevented, and the maintenance of a balanced microbiota is ensured.
The superiority of Alquermold Natural to organic acids is demonstrated in the following results obtained:
- The graph below shows the reduction on CFU count of fungi in broiler feed, where Alquermold Natural achieved a 100% reduction, while organic acids (2kg/t) only reduced it by 32%.
- The efficacy of Alquermold Natural compared to organic acids was also evaluated through the impact on the main productive parameters in chicken farms of the region. As seen in the chart below, it is stated that, once again, Alquermold Natural group obtained better final weight and feed conversion rate.
Comparing Alquermold Natural at the same dosage than the mold inhibitor (1kg/t), the first obtained a 4.5% higher final weight while the FCR was improved by 3.2% than the mold inhibitor. When Alquermold natural was used at half dosage of the mold inhibitor, the final weight was improved by 1% and the FCR by 1.7%.
Feed contamination in South East Asia is a usual finding, as Aspergillus prevalence in feed is over 70%, because of the weather conditions and management practices in the region.
Traditionally, feed preservation in the area has been done with organic acids, also called mold inhibitors. However, these substances have several limitations that do not allow them to solve the high challenge present in the region. Among other faults, organic acids are not able to eliminate completely the microorganisms, demonstrated in sampled feed above.
Alquermold Natural, a natural antimicrobial, is the choice of election to eliminate microorganisms in feed in South East Asia. Results obtained in the region concluded that it is more effective on feed preservation than traditional methods used in the area.
When comparing in vivo the effect of Alquermold Natural and organic acids, the first has a positive repercussion on productivity parameters like final weight and FCR and, if the results obtained are extrapolated to one million broilers, the use of Alquermold Natural would imply a production of 76 more tons of meat, while saving 77 tons of feed, compared to organic acids.
Beside of this, Alquermold Natural has an additional advantage, as it can also control intestinal pathogens, like Clostridium perfringens, and favour the growth of beneficial flora.