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Phylox® Performance Equals Salinomycin or Nicarbazin to Combat a Coccidia Challenge

Phylox

To an industry looking for anticoccidial alternatives, Amlan International offers Phylox® (available in select international markets), a blend of natural ingredients, Phylox was developed to control coccidiosis without resorting to ionophores or chemicals. Dr. San Ching, a Technical Research Manager at Amlan International was instrumental in the development of Phylox. He had this to say about the development of Amlan’s new product to fight coccidiosis

We designed, Varium®, which provides excellent results reducing the damage from necrotic enteritis caused by toxins produced by Clostridium perfringens. However, our customers also needed a solution for coccidiosis, which is highly related to necrotic enteritis. Therefore, we developed, Phylox, which works to decrease the effects of the parasitic disease. When we started working on a coccidiosis solution, we soon realized that there was a resistance issue in many of the current alternatives, both for antibiotic ionophores and chemicals. Thus, for Phylox we used natural ingredients that would attack coccidia and the coccidiosis problem in more than one way and avoid the development of resistance. We know that the oocysts’ lifecycle is complicated, but most of it occurs in the gut. We selected ingredients that limit the development of the Eimeria oocysts in multiple ways. Additionally, we wanted to invent a product that can work seamlessly with the vaccines.”

Phylox has been shown to be successful in numerous research trials. In 2022, Amlan gave two presentations: A Novel Approach to Coccidiosis Control and A Research-Backed Alternative to Anticoccidial Drugs at the Scientific Forum of IPPE. These presentations represented seven experiments and show Phylox improved growth and immune function in broilers challenged with coccidia. Two additional experiments have been added as a final step in research and development, further proving the value of Phylox for birds facing a coccidia challenge.

In each of the two studies, the coccidia challenge was at day 14 when birds were given an oral dose of 100,000 oocysts of E. acervulina, 50,000 oocysts of E. maxima, and 75,000 oocysts of E. tenella.  The coccidia lifecycle is interesting and complex. Many coccidia species are host specific and do not cross from one host species to another. Several strains of coccidia affect chickens. These strains rise and fall in prominence, in part due to their ability to develop resistance to the chemical or antibiotic that is being used to control them. The three species used in these studies attach to different areas of the gastro-intestinal tract. E. acervuline causes lesions and damage to the upper third of the intestine – the duodenum and upper ileum, E. maxima causes lesions in the middle third of the intestine, and E. tenella cause lesions in the ceca.

 

In the first study, no coccidiosis vaccines or other coccidiosis medications were given. The treatments in the study consisted of both challenged and unchallenged birds with Phylox in the feed and challenged and unchallenged birds without Phylox in the feed. When a coccidia challenge wasn’t given, birds fed Phylox had the same gain and feed conversion as the control birds both for day 14 – 28 and the overall, day 0 – 28, experimental period (Figures 1 &2). This result proves that feeding Phylox doesn’t have a negative affect when a coccidia challenge isn’t present, which is a problem with some other coccidiosis preventatives.

 

Figure 1. Weight gain of birds without and with a coccidia challenge with and without Phylox in the feed.

 

Phylox improved performance in birds challenged with coccidia. Feeding Phylox improved feed conversion in the challenged birds. This was seen in both in the challenge period, day 14 – 28, and for the overall experimental period from day 0 – 28.

 

Figure 2. Feed conversion of birds without and with a coccidia challenge with and without Phylox.

 

Figure 3. Phylox has multiple ways to help prevent coccidiosis.

 

The improvement in feed conversion is because Phylox contains various active ingredients giving it multiple modes of action (Figure 3). This allows Phylox to protect the intestine during a coccidia challenge. First, it interferes with the cell membrane of the coccidia protozoa. Phylox binds to the sterols of the cell membrane, compromising the integrity of the sporozoite cell wall, the cell then dies by apoptosis. Phylox also interrupts the Eimeria lifecycle by preventing oocyst sporulation. By interrupting this step, the oocysts don’t develop from the immature noninfective form to the mature infective form. This disruption protects the intestinal cells from coccidial infection. Other ingredients included in Phylox provide energy to the endothelial cells that line the intestine. The protected intestine is better able to absorb necessary nutrients resulting in improved feed conversion. In addition to improved feed conversion, this protective ability is also shown by the decrease in lesion scores of the challenged birds fed Phylox. The lesion scores formed by each of the coccidia species used in the challenged decreased when birds were fed Phylox when intestines were examined on day 20 (Figure 4).

 

Figure 4. Lesion scores of birds without and with a coccidia challenge with and without Phylox in the feed.

 

 

In an experiment with a similar coccidiosis challenge model, Phylox was compared to using salinomycin or nicarbazin. These feed additives have commonly been used to decrease the effects of coccidiosis.

 

 

Figure 5. Weight gain of coccidia challenged broilers fed salinomycin, nicarbazin, or Phylox.

 

Feeding Phylox resulted in weight gain and feed conversion equal to the salinomycin or nicarbazin treatments (Figure 5 & 6). This is the same result that was seen in the research presented by Dr. Ching at the 2022 IPPE Scientific Forum A Research-Backed Alternative to Anticoccidial Drugs. This result was observed both in the days following the challenge (day 14 – 28), and for the overall experimental period (day 0 – 28). All treatments had better feed conversion than the untreated birds.

 

 

Figure 6. Feed conversion of coccidia challenged broilers fed salinomycin, nicarbazin, or Phylox.

 

Phylox reduced lesion scores for each species of coccidia and as an average of all species compared to the untreated challenge when intestines were examined on day 20. The reduction was equal to that of the ionophore and the chemical coccidiosis treatments. Feeding Phylox also decreased fecal coccidia oocysts counts equal to the decrease seen by feeding salinomycin or nicarbazin. Oocysts were counted in excreta collected from day 19 – 22.

 

 

Figure 7. Lesion score or oocyst counts of coccidia challenged broilers fed salinomycin, nicarbazin, or Phylox.

 

Because Phylox contains various active ingredients it can fill in the gaps that are missing from other coccidiosis control methods. It can be used in No-Antibiotic-Ever programs with no withdrawal requirement. It is effective against multiple Eimeria strains without promoting the emergence of drug-resistant coccidia. And it can be fed with anticoccidial vaccines, preventing disease breakthrough while immunity is being developed by the bird.

Natural Phylox is not only equal to traditional ways of controlling coccidiosis but is equal in economic performance. Phylox can be used to combat coccidiosis in no-antibiotics-ever or traditional production.

Dr. Ching’s presentation of this research at IPPE in the poster session.

Talk to your Amlan representative on how to use Phylox in your production system.

Advanced Technologies to Mitigate Disease in Poultry Production

As more poultry producers incorporate antibiotic-free (ABF) practices into their operations, the need for innovative disease mitigation technologies has also increased. Amlan International is meeting this demand by developing next-generation products, using mineral-based technology, that optimize bird intestinal health and add value for the producer.

 

In this post we examine four technological advances that could help drive progress in managing disease, bacteria and toxins in flocks while meeting consumer demands for high-quality animal protein. We discuss the advanced mineral technology that is the foundation of Amlan’s natural feed additives as well as a unique diagnostic service offered by Amlan. We also highlight technology on the market from other (unaffiliated) companies that our team thought might be useful for ABF producers to consider when looking for new ways to manage disease in their flock.

 

  1. Optimize intestinal health with advanced mineral technology

In a crowded feed additive market, advanced mineral technology is the Amlan difference. As the animal health business of Oil-Dri® Corporation of America, Amlan’s scientifically proven products are backed by

Oil-Dri’s 80 years of experience in mineral science. The single-source raw material that is the core of Amlan’s products is calcium montmorillonite with high-capacity opal-CT lepispheres. Proprietary thermal processing — that does not use harmful chemicals — is tailored for each product to create unique functionalities.

 

Calibrin®-Z (available in select international markets) is a broad-spectrum biotoxin binder that protects poultry and livestock from biotoxins that reduce performance and cause morbidity or mortality. All-natural Calibrin-Z binds polar (e.g., aflatoxin) and nonpolar (e.g., zearalenone) mycotoxins, as well as bacterial toxins like those produced by C. perfringens, E. coli and C. difficile. Binding these biotoxins enhances intestinal health to improve feed efficiency and overall animal performance.

 

  1. Minimize production loss with timely mycotoxin diagnostic results

When determining whether feed is contaminated with mycotoxins, a fast and accurate analysis is critical for preventing the negative health and production effects mycotoxins can cause. Amlan has partnered with Envirologix, the world’s most trusted name for quantitative testing kits at the point of grain delivery, to bring producers . This program provides on-site quantitative mycotoxin detection results within 10 minutes. The test identifies mycotoxin contamination levels in the feed, and Amlan’s dose calculator can be used to determine the optimal dose of  to apply in the animal’s ration to mitigate the toxin threat.

 

  1. Automation technology increases animal welfare and detects disease

Robot automation in poultry barns is a growing segment of the poultry industry. Robotic technology uses sensors and 2D and 3D cameras to perform repetitive and time-consuming tasks such as disinfecting barns, picking up floor eggs, vaccinating and managing litter.

 

Increasingly important in modern poultry operations, robotics can also help mitigate production risks and ensure animal welfare goals are met. Thermal imaging can be used to detect animal body temperatures, early disease indicators, record bird activity/welfare and report mortalities while performing their assigned tasks. Monitoring technology can also help producers observe environmental metrics in facilities such as temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide and ammonia levels. A recent development in this area is using sensors to determine when a poultry house smell is no longer “normal.” This technology could help identify a biosecurity or disease risk to a flock.

 

  1. Blockchain technology facilitates food traceability

Modern consumers are increasingly demanding to know more about how and where their food is raised. Blockchain technology, often in combination with other digital tech, helps track and trace animals and food products throughout the supply chain by linking small packages of data to provide a digital audit of meat production and food safety. At the farm level, these data points could include point of origin, veterinary and feed source records and transportation dates.

 

As poultry move through the food production system, blockchain technology records significant data points to ensure food supplies meet the traceability requirements that consumers demand. In the processing sector, for example, blockchain can link production information with the final product’s labeling and packaging information to ensure compliance with brand commitments. Blockchain offers incredible promise for connecting poultry growers with new market opportunities.

 

These emerging trends are important to monitor so producers can determine how best their operations can evolve and remain competitive. Investing in the right technologies will be the key to moving poultry producers to greater production, improved efficiencies,  enhanced market opportunities and increased profitability. At Amlan, we are developing and bringing to market advanced feed additive technologies that optimize the intestinal health and production efficiency of producers’ flocks while preserving the economic viability of poultry production. To learn more, click .

 

 

 

Rapidly Adsorb Aflatoxins and Improve Poultry Performance with Calibrin-A

Calibrin-A White Broilers

Mitigating the effects of mycotoxin-contaminated feed is a goal of every poultry producer in order to keep birds healthy and reduce the negative effects of mycotoxicosis on performance. Aflatoxin is a common threat to poultry productivity, targeting and damaging the liver and causing mortality in severe cases. Subclinical cases can reduce feed intake, weight gain and efficiency, which negatively impact the cost of production and, ultimately, profits.

Aflatoxin is a polar or hydrophilic (water-loving) mycotoxin, which means it and other polar mycotoxins, like ergotamine, ergovaline and cyclopiazonic acid (CPA), are attracted to hydrophilic surfaces. Calibrin®-A (available in select international markets) is a mineral-based feed additive that rapidly adsorbs these polar mycotoxins due to its hydrophilic binding sites. If mycotoxin diagnostic tests (e.g., BioInsights) detect feed is contaminated with polar mycotoxins, Calibrin-A is an effective solution for reducing performance loss.

The Calibrin-A Difference

Calibrin-A contains one ingredient — our single-source calcium montmorillonite with opal CT lepispheres. We select our calcium montmorillonite from a specific location within our mine to ensure product consistency, quality and reliability for customers. We’re very specific about where we source our mineral, because of its natural physical and chemical properties. We also use proprietary mineral processing methods that are tailored for each product. These unique properties are what create the difference between Calibrin-A and other clay binders in the market. Calibrin-A naturally adsorbs polar mycotoxins and is designed to have a high particle count and increased access to hydrophilic binding sites. The combination of natural mineral characteristics and processing techniques creates a highly effective, fast-acting feed additive for binding polar mycotoxins.

Rapid Polar Mycotoxin Adsorption Is Key

Eliminating the fast uptake of mycotoxins into the digestive system is key to preventing the negative health and performance effects of mycotoxicosis. Mycotoxins quickly metabolize in the intestines and liver and can circulate in the blood for days or weeks. While certain toxins enter the body more quickly than others, the negative effects consistently result in decreased performance and unrealized economic potential. Calibrin-A rapidly adsorbs polar mycotoxins, reducing their bioavailability in the body and mitigating performance loss (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Calibrin-A rapidly adsorbs aflatoxin. Source: Trilogy Analytical Laboratory, USA.

Calibrin-A Improves Performance of Aflatoxin-Fed Broilers

The impact rapid aflatoxin adsorption by Calibrin-A has on bird productivity was shown in two broiler studies. In research conducted at the University of Missouri (Columbia, MO), Calibrin-A abated the detrimental effects of aflatoxin-contaminated feed on broiler health and performance. The study compared a control diet to diets containing 2 ppm of aflatoxin, with or without 0.5% Calibrin-A, fed to day-old Ross 308 chicks for 21 days.

As expected, aflatoxin in the feed caused decreased (P < 0.05) feed intake, weight gain and feed efficiency, and increased (P > 0.05) relative liver weight compared to control birds. The liver is the main target of aflatoxin if it enters the body from the intestine. Aflatoxin will cause the liver to swell and it can become “fatty” with a yellow appearance. The swollen liver and decreased weight gain causes increased relative liver weight.

Adding Calibrin‑A to the diet of birds fed aflatoxin improved weight gain and feed efficiency (Figure 2), and reduced the mycotoxin-induced increase in relative liver weight (Figure 3). Mortality rate of the control and Calibrin-A-fed birds (2.5%) was lower than the aflatoxin-fed birds (10%).

Figure 2: Calibrin-A improved weight gain and feed efficiency in broilers fed aflatoxin-contaminated feed (P < 0.05).

Figure 3: Calibrin-A reduced the mycotoxin-induced increase in relative liver weight (P > 0.05).

In a study conducted at SAMITEC (Santa Maria, Brazil), four groups of male broiler chicks (6 reps x 10 chicks each) received a diet with or without aflatoxin (2.8 ppm) and with or without 0.5% Calibrin-A (CON, AFL, CON + Calibrin-A, AFL + Calibrin-A). Calibrin-A improved (P < 0.05) the feed intake and body weight of birds fed aflatoxin (Figures 4 and 5) and reduced (P < 0.05) the average liver weight of birds fed aflatoxin (Figure 6). Additionally, adding Calibrin-A to the control diet (no aflatoxin) at 10 times the recommended dose had no negative effects on growth performance (Figures 4 and 5), indicating that Calibrin-A does not significantly interfere with nutrient use.

In order to achieve statistical significance between the challenged and non-challenged birds, a much higher concentration of aflatoxin was used in both studies than would typically be seen in poultry diets. Because birds were challenged with a high amount of aflatoxin, Calibrin-A was also included at a higher dose than typically recommended. The ratio of Calibrin-A to aflatoxin in the feed was 2500:1 (5000 ppm Calibrin-A and 2 ppm aflatoxin) for the University of Missouri study, for example, which is equivalent to the recommended inclusion rate of Calibrin-A (500 ppm) and 0.2 ppm of aflatoxin in the feed. This amount of aflatoxin is still higher than the concentration typically found in poultry feed.

Figure 4: Calibrin-A increased feed intake in birds fed aflatoxin (P < 0.05).

Figure 5: Calibrin-A increased the average weight of birds fed aflatoxin to a weight similar to control birds (P < 0.05).

Figure 6: Calibrin-A decreased the average liver weight of birds fed aflatoxin (P < 0.05).

These studies demonstrate the performance and health benefits of feeding Calibrin-A to rapidly adsorb polar mycotoxins like aflatoxin. Single-ingredient, mineral-based Calibrin-A is an effective solution to mitigating the risk of mycotoxicosis from aflatoxin-contaminated feed. To learn more about Calibrin-A or to try Calibrin-A for yourself, contact your local sales representative.

 

 

Varium® Improves Performance in Commercial Broilers Compared to an Antibiotic Growth Promoter

Varium Product Blog

Varium was developed to provide poultry producers with a product to improve production by optimizing gut health. One of the ways this can be shown is by improvements in feed conversion. Because feed costs are such a large part of the cost of poultry production, any improvement in feed conversion can have a big impact on the bottom line. Additionally, decreasing the amount of feed used to produce a kilogram of meat increases the sustainability of the operation, which is very important in today’s world.

Varium, available in select international markets, has multiple modes of action to increase its ability to improve performance. It was designed to protect against biotoxins ​in the lumen of the gastrointestinal tract and keep them from entering the body, to energize the epithelial cells that line the intestine, and help the immune system prepare to respond to antigens. ​Over the years numerous controlled experiments have shown that Varium improves feed conversion under a variety of conditions. A meta-analysis of this research was presented at the Poultry Science Association’s 2nd Latin American Scientific Conference in Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil. This summary of multiple experiments showed that feeding Varium resulted in broiler performance that was equal to that obtained when an antibiotic growth promoter was fed, this was seen both in birds that were challenged with the bacterium Clostridium perfringens to induce necrotic enteritis and in unchallenged birds. When both the antibiotic and Varium were fed together it improved the feed conversion ratio even more (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Varium improved Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) compared to unchallenged or challenged control, equal to the antibiotic growth promoter (AGP).

Since that time, information from the field has shown that feeding Varium resulted in less damage to the intestine of commercial broilers and improved villi height/crypt depth, which correlated to improved overall feed conversion (Lima, Peru).

In 2022, a large commercial study was run in southern Brazil. The study used approximately 180,000 broilers from three farms with each farm feeding one house a control diet with their standard feed containing a mycotoxin binder and enramycin, an antibiotic used as a feed additive to prevent necrotic enteritis. A second house had those ingredients removed and 0.1% Varium was added. The chicks that were supplied to the farms for evaluation were from breeders of the same age. Every week a sample weight was measured in each barn and mortalities were tabulated. Birds were harvested at 47.29 days for the Control birds and 47.17 days for the Varium fed birds (Figure 2). With a daily weight gain of 69.60 g for the Control birds and 70.62 g for the Varium fed birds.

Figure 2. Body weight (kg) for broilers fed 0.1% Varium compared to broilers fed feed containing a mycotoxin binder and the antibiotic enramycin.

Weekly mortality, cumulative mortality, and transport mortality were all lower when birds were fed Varium compared to those fed the antibiotic (Figure 3). Overall feed conversion was 1.717 for the Control birds and 1.671 for the birds fed Varium; an advantage for birds fed Varium of 4.6 points.

Figure 3. Mortality was lower for birds fed Varium each week and cumulatively by week. Final mortality included birds that died during transportation to harvest.

Feed conversion was 1.717 for the Control birds and 1.671 for the Varium fed birds, an advantage of 4.6 points (Figure 4). When the feed conversion was adjusted to a common ending weight of 3.25 kg adjusted feed conversion was 1.706 for the Control birds and 1.643 for the Varium fed birds, an advantage of 6.3 points for the Varium fed birds.

Figure 4. Feed conversion improved when broilers were fed Varium versus an antibiotic, both for overall or when adjusted to a final weight of 3.25 kg.

The 2022 Brazilian study shows that feeding Varium can improve efficiencies and performance, which are critical to increasing profits. In this case, the added annual profit for a producer processing 1 million birds per week would equate to approximately USD 6 million. Using an estimated price for the control diet of USD 375 and USD 380 for the Varium diet, the return on the cost of adding Varium vs the antibiotic control diet is approximately 4 to 1.

To learn more about improved performance with Varium and how to request a field trial, contact your local Amlan representative.

Sorbiam™ Improves Pellet Durability

Dairy cows with Sorbiam™ logo.

Pelleting feed and concentrates offers a number of advantages for poultry and livestock producers. Pelleting can reduce feed waste, lessen the time allocated to eating (allowing more energy to be dedicated to growth) and improve gain and feed efficiency. Pelleting also helps with feed logistics — improved feed flow through bins, less dust formation, reduced ingredient separation during storage and less space required for storage. However, these benefits are achievable only if the pellet is of good quality. A poor-quality pellet with a large number of fines won’t return the same benefits and will have a low benefit-cost ratio.

Sorbiam™ Improves Flowability

Purpose-made pellet binders can be added to feed to improve the pellet durability index and the overall quality of the pellet. However, premium feed additives like mineral-based Sorbiam™ (available in North America only) can offer producers more than pellet quality improvements. Sorbiam promotes efficient production economics for poultry and livestock through the maintenance of a healthy gastrointestinal tract. Because Sorbiam is produced as microgranules, flowability is improved throughout feed production. Sorbiam is also available as Sorbiam XL, which is the same product manufactured as slightly larger-sized microgranules.

Sorbiam Pellet Durability Research

Recent research from Kansas State University (Manhattan, KS) suggests that Sorbiam can help improve pellet durability as well as flowability. Two methods, the tumbling box and Holmen durability tests, were used to determine if Sorbiam can improve the pellet durability index (PDI).

The basal diet was formulated with 2.52% soybean oil (Table 1). It had a production rate of 34 pounds/minute and a conditioning temperature of 82°C (180°F). Sorbiam was included at 0.1% in half the tested pellets (replacing 0.1% corn).

 

Table 1: Basal diet formulation for pellet durability testing

Basal diet formulation for pellet durability testing chart.

For the tumbling box traditional method, sieved pellets were placed in the tumbling can device and tumbled for 10 minutes. The samples were then removed, sieved and weighed, and the percent of whole pellets calculated. For the modified tumbling box method, three hex nuts were added to the tumbling chamber to create a more abrasive test.1

The Holmen durability test uses air to create the abrasion of pellets rather than the physical action that occurs in the tumbling box method1. To start the test, a weighed sample of screened pellets were added to the test chamber. The pellets were agitated by forced air for 30 or 60 seconds, then removed, sieved and weighed; and the percent of whole pellets was calculated.

For the tumbling box method, adding 0.1% Sorbiam to the formulation significantly improved the PDI for both the traditional and the modified procedures (increased PDI by 1.1% and 2.9%, respectively; Figure 1). For the 60-second Holmen durability test, there was a numerical improvement of 3.3% in the PDI when Sorbiam was added to the diet (Figure 2).

Tumble Box pellet durability index chart.

Figure 1: Sorbiam significantly improved the pellet durability index for both traditional and modified tumble box methods. Different letters within tumbling method indicate a significant difference (P < 0.05).

Holmen pellet durability index chart.

Figure 2: Sorbiam numerically improved the pellet durability index in the 60-second Holmen durability test. Different letters within tumbling method indicate a significant difference (P < 0.05).

 

Pelleting has many production and logistics advantages — but only if good-quality pellets are produced. In this study, adding Sorbiam to the pellets helped increase pellet durability, an important contributing factor to pellet quality. For more information on Sorbiam, contact your local Amlan representative.

 

Reference

1Stark, C. and Fahrenholz, A. Evaluating Pellet Quality, K-State Research and Extension, https://bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/MF3228.pdf

Calibrin®-Z Improves Broiler Performance Over Other Mycotoxin-Targeting Products

Calibrin®-Z logo and poultry farm infographic.

To prevent mycotoxicosis, poultry diets are often supplemented with feed additives marketed to reduce the toxic effects of dietary mycotoxins. These feed additives are based on a range of key ingredients, including mineral adsorbents (like our biotoxin binder Calibrin®-Z), yeast cell wall preparations, enzyme-based products and algae-based additives. Researchers at Instituto de Soluções Analíticas Microbiológicas e Tecnológicas (SAMITEC, Santa Maria, Brazil) conducted a comparison of these feed additives to determine the best option for maintaining performance when broilers are challenged with mycotoxin-contaminated feed.

Mycotoxin-Challenge Study Compares Commercial Feed Additive Efficacy

In a 21-day feeding challenge, researchers at SAMITEC evaluated the toxic effects of concurrent aflatoxin and fumonisin exposure in broilers. They also compared the effectiveness of various mycotoxin-targeting products, including Calibrin-Z, in reducing those toxic effects. Calibrin-Z undergoes specifically tailored, proprietary thermal processing that promotes the binding of a broad spectrum of biotoxins, including polar and nonpolar mycotoxins. To further help combat enteric disease, Calibrin-Z also binds bacterial exotoxins and endotoxins, such as those produced by Clostridium perfringens and Escherichia coli.

A total of 540 one-day-old male Cobb 500 broiler chicks were randomly assigned to one of six treatments (Table 1). Each treatment had nine replicates of 10 chicks per pen. The mycotoxin-challenged diet, which was fed to all treatment groups except the unchallenged control, contained aflatoxin B1, B2, G1 and G2 produced by Aspergillus parasiticus, and fumonisin B1 and B2 produced by Fusarium moniliforme. Aflatoxin B1 accounted for 93.8% of the aflatoxin added and fumonisin B1 made up 95.8% of the fumonisin.

Table 1. Mycotoxin-Challenge Study Dietary Treatments by Group

Mycotoxin-Challenge study dietary treatments by group chart.

Calibrin-Z Improves Feed Intake of Mycotoxin-Challenged Broilers

As expected, dietary exposure to aflatoxin and fumonisin reduced feed intake, with broilers consuming the mycotoxin-challenged control diet averaging 14% lower feed intake than the unchallenged control group (P ≤ 0.05, Figure 1). However, Calibrin-Z was able to recover some of this reduced feed intake and averaged 11% greater feed intake than the mycotoxin-challenged control group (P ≤ 0.05). Additionally, Calibrin-Z and the enzyme-based group had similar feed intake and were both greater than the yeast cell wall-based group (P ≤ 0.05). The algae-based group was numerically in between, and not significantly different, to the other product groups.

Feed intake chart in grams.
Figure 1. Feeding Calibrin®-Z in broiler diets contaminated with aflatoxin and fumonisin improved feed intake. Different letters indicate a significant difference between groups (P ≤ 0.05).

Mycotoxin-Challenged Broiler Weight Gain Improved By Calibrin-Z

Exposure to mycotoxin-contaminated feed also reduced broiler weight gain (Figure 2). After 21 days, broilers in the unchallenged control, Calibrin-Z and enzyme-based groups had greater body weight gain compared to the mycotoxin-challenged control group (P ≤ 0.05). Those three groups also had greater weight gain compared to the yeast cell wall- and algae-based groups which were not different to the mycotoxin-challenged control group.

Body weight gain chart for day 0-21.
Figure 2. Feeding Calibrin-Z in broiler diets contaminated with aflatoxin and fumonisin improved body weight gain. Different letters indicate a significant difference between groups (P ≤ 0.05).

Calibrin-Z Shows FCR Improvement Over Other Feed Additives

Broilers in the Calibrin-Z group had a feed conversion ratio (FCR) comparable to the unchallenged control group (P > 0.05) and a significantly better FCR than the yeast cell wall-based and algae-based groups (P ≤ 0.05, see Figure 3).

Feed conversion ratio chart for day 0-21.
Figure 3. Feeding Calibrin-Z in broiler mycotoxin-contaminated diets resulted in a feed conversion ratio similar to the unchallenged control group. Different letters indicate a significant difference between groups (P ≤ 0.05).

Calibrin-Z Proves Its Mycotoxin-Binding Efficacy

In this study, adding Calibrin-Z to mycotoxin-contaminated broiler diets led to greater body weight gain and a superior FCR compared to broilers fed diets containing yeast cell wall- or algae-based products. While there is no statistical difference between Calibrin-Z and enzyme-based products, there is a strong numerical difference between the two, with Calibrin-Z leading in both body weight gain and FCR. Broilers in the Calibrin-Z group had greater body weight gain and improved feed intake compared to broilers in the mycotoxin-challenged control group, and an FCR equivalent to the unchallenged control group.

Calibrin-Z has proved, once again, to be an effective mycotoxin binder that improves the performance of broilers fed mycotoxin-contaminated diets. In addition, Calibrin-Z had performance results that were equal to, or better than, other mycotoxin mitigation products in the market. For more information on this study, or to trial Calibrin-Z yourself, contact us.

Calibrin®-Z Excels in Broiler Study Comparing Mycotoxin-Targeting Feed Additives

Calibrin®-Z logo and poultry farm infographic.

Mycotoxin-contaminated feed is a constant challenge for poultry producers, made worse if environmental conditions favor the rapid growth of mycotoxin-producing fungi in the field or during storage. And if multiple mycotoxins have contaminated the feed, it can create a synergistic, or additive, effect, amplifying each mycotoxin’s negative outcome on poultry production.

Calibrin®-Z Binds Multiple Mycotoxins and More

Mitigating the effects of mycotoxin-contaminated feed is essential, because whether the effects on poultry are mild (due to long-term low-level exposure) or severe (from a high-level challenge), a decrease in performance (and profits) is usually inevitable. To diminish the effects of mycotoxicosis, poultry diets often include feed additives that target mycotoxins. Examples of these feed additives include Calibrin®-Z (our mineral-based biotoxin binder), yeast cell wall preparations, enzyme-based products and algae-based additives.

Unlike other mineral-based products, Calibrin-Z undergoes specifically tailored, proprietary thermal processing that promotes the binding of a broad spectrum of biotoxins, including polar and nonpolar mycotoxins. Calibrin-Z also binds bacterial exotoxins and endotoxins, such as those produced by Clostridium perfringens and Escherichia coli, to help combat enteric disease.

University of Missouri Study Compares Feed Additive Performance

To evaluate the performance of products marketed to mitigate mycotoxin-contaminated feed, researchers at the University of Missouri (Columbia, MO) evaluated the ability of commercial feed additives to reduce the combined toxic effects of concurrent aflatoxin B1 and fumonisin B1 exposure in poultry. In the 21-day feeding trial, 144 broiler chicks were randomly assigned to six treatment groups with 24 birds in each group (Table 1). Statistical significance for treatment comparisons was set at P < 0.10.

Table 1. Dietary Treatments by Group

Calibrin®-Z Aflatoxin B1, Fumonisin B1 and feed additive chart.

Similar Body Weight Gain for Calibrin-Z and Unchallenged Control Birds

The results showed that as expected, mycotoxin-contaminated feed significantly reduced broiler weight gain (Figure 1). However, Calibrin-Z was able to mitigate this performance loss. Birds fed the mycotoxin-challenged diet and Calibrin‑Z recorded statistically similar body weight gain as the non-challenged control birds (P = 0.35). This performance recovery was not seen to the same extent in challenged birds receiving the algae-, enzyme- or yeast cell wall‑based products, as birds from these groups gained significantly less weight than the non-challenged control group birds (P < 0.10). The weight gain of Calibrin-Z-supplemented birds was also 6 percent greater than the weight gain of enzyme-supplemented birds, 11 percent greater than the yeast cell wall group and 19 percent greater than the algae-based product group.

Calibrin®-Z body weight gain chart.
Different letters indicate a significant difference between groups (P < 0.10). Figure 1. Body weight gain of birds fed a diet containing two mycotoxins plus Calibrin-Z was statistically similar to that of birds receiving a diet free of mycotoxins.

Calibrin-Z Numerically Improved Feed Conversion

Feeding Calibrin-Z to mycotoxin-challenged broilers improved feed conversion by up to 10 points compared to diets supplemented with enzyme, yeast cell wall or algae-based products (Figure 2).  While not a statistical difference in this trial, these results represent a significant numerical difference in broiler production.

Calibrin®-Z feed conversion ratio chart.
Figure 2. All groups had statistically similar feed conversion, with Calibrin-Z numerically improving feed conversion compared to all groups except the unchallenged control.

This study showed that adding Calibrin-Z to aflatoxin- and fumonisin-contaminated feed enabled broiler chickens to maintain weight gain and feed conversion similar to birds fed a mycotoxin-free diet. The other commercial products did not improve bird performance to the same extent as Calibrin-Z in this study, demonstrating the production advantage Calibrin-Z delivers by binding multiple biotoxins and improving intestinal tract health. For more information on this study, or on the health and productivity benefits of adding Calibrin‑Z to your birds’ rations, contact us.

Varium® Rivals Zinc Bacitracin in Maintaining Broiler Intestinal Health

Varium® logo with broilers in the background.

In some countries, the use of zinc bacitracin as an antibiotic growth promoter (AGP) in poultry is restricted due to concern over the increase in multi-drug-resistant bacteria that do not respond to traditional antibiotic treatments. Restrictions in the use of AGPs in animal feeds like zinc bacitracin has spurred the development of natural AGP alternatives that keep birds healthy and growing efficiently.

Natural Performance Promotion

Varium® is a patented natural mineral-based feed additive that promotes efficiency and productivity in poultry. Unlike antibiotics that kill bacteria, the patented technology in Varium includes a synergistic formulation of ingredients that binds pathogenic bacteria and their toxins, provides an energy source for the growth of healthy and strong enterocytes and gently stimulates immunity cells. With multiple modes of action, Varium adds value for producers by replacing the need for multiple feed additives; it can provide the same benefits in one product thereby simplifying diet formulations and reducing costs.

Comparing Varium with Zinc Bacitracin

To demonstrate its effectiveness, Varium was directly compared to zinc bacitracin in a broiler study conducted by a university in Pakistan. In the trial, 180 Ross 308 chicks (10 chicks per pen, 6 pens per treatment) were randomly allocated to one of three treatment groups: control (0.01% zinc bacitracin), Varium 0.1 (0.1%) or Varium 0.15 (0.15%). The broilers were raised under normal production conditions, with the trial ending on day 35. Newcastle disease vaccine was administered to all birds on day 6 (intraocular and subcutaneous) and a booster (oral) was administered on day 21. Newcastle disease titers were measured on days 20 and 35 from 18 birds per treatment. Three birds per pen (18 total per treatment), randomly selected on day 35, and had small intestine morphology and bacterial counts in the small intestine and digesta measured.

Varium Protects Intestinal Health

The study showed that Varium was able to protect intestinal morphology better than zinc bacitracin. In Varium-fed broilers, a significant dose-response effect was observed for intestinal (jejunum) villus height and villi index (villus height to crypt depth) on day 35, with all Varium treatments significantly higher than the zinc bacitracin control (Figure 1). A similar dose response was observed with intestinal (jejunum) crypt depth; all Varium treatments were significantly lower than the control, and Varium 0.15 was significantly lower than Varium 0.1 (Figure 1).

Villus Height, Villi Index, Crypt Depth of broilers information.
Figure 1: Villus height, villi index and crypt depth of broilers fed either 0.01% zinc bacitracin (control) or Varium at 0.1 or 0.15%. Varium demonstrated a dose-response effect that indicated better ability to protect intestinal morphology than zinc bacitracin.

 

Varium was also able to protect the birds from necrotic enteritis to the same extent as zinc bacitracin. Necrotic enteritis was not found among any of the sampled birds on day 35. Lesion scores (0 to 4 scale) for the entire length of the small intestine were not different between treatments; however, Varium 0.1 had a better effect on intestinal elasticity than the other treatments.

Beneficial Bacteria Increase with Varium

Varium was able to promote colonization of beneficial bacteria while decreasing the population of pathogenic bacteria. Varium 0.1 had significantly more beneficial Lactobacilli than zinc bacitracin and Varium 0.15 had significantly more than all treatments (Figure 2). All Varium treatments decreased the population of Salmonella in the small intestine and digesta compared to zinc bacitracin (Figure 3).

Lactobacilli colonization of the small intestine and digesta information.
Figure 2: Lactobacilli colonization of the small intestine and digesta was improved when the broiler diet was supplemented with Varium.
Salmonella colonization of the small intestine and digesta information.
Figure 3: Salmonella colonization of the small intestine and digesta was significantly reduced when the broiler diet was supplemented with Varium.

A Better Immune Response

Varium also improved the immune response to vaccination. On day 20 and 35, Newcastle disease antibody titer (hemagglutination inhibition test) was significantly higher in all Varium treatments compared to zinc bacitracin. Previous research (contact Amlan for more details, info@amlan.com) has shown that feeding Varium during disease challenge can restore the expression of immune cells that are responsible for stimulation of an antigen-specific immune response and also increase phagocytic activity compared to the control group. This increased immune response, as well as the removal of bacterial toxins that can cause immunosuppression, are thought to be the reasons behind the increase in Newcastle disease antibody titers observed in the present study.

This study confirmed that Varium can be as effective as zinc bacitracin in promoting intestinal health. The doses of Varium at 0.1 and 0.15% performed equal to or better than zinc bacitracin for the parameters tested. For more information on how Varium can improve health, production efficiency and value, visit the Varium product page.

Pathogen Control Options for Antibiotic-Free Poultry Production

NeutraPath® Logo and Poultry Farm Info Graphic | Amlan International

Antibiotic-free (ABF) poultry production has its benefits — it increases market opportunities for producers and, perhaps more importantly, it helps reduce the emergence of antimicrobial resistant pathogens. But ABF production also brings with it a new set of challenges. One of the biggest is how to control the pathogens that reduce flock health and production efficiency, now that subtherapeutic levels of antibiotics can’t be used.

Stopping pathogens from entering the poultry house in the first place goes a long way in controlling disease outbreaks. But most pathogenic agents associated with common enteric poultry diseases are ubiquitous in the environment, meaning their management focuses more on control than eradication. In this post we discuss the importance of biosecurity and environmental management in controlling pathogens in ABF production systems. We also present data on NeutraPath®, a natural feed additive available in select international markets that has multiple modes of action against enteric pathogens.

Prevent Diseases Spreading

People are the biggest risk factor for introducing pathogens into a flock. For this reason, limiting visitors and wearing personal protective equipment in the barn are typically standard practices in poultry facilities. People traveling to the farm should also disinfect their shoes and vehicle floorboards when arriving and leaving the facility. Keeping rodents and insects out of the barn and preventing wild birds from contaminating open water sources are other key control points for effective biosecurity.

Create an Uninviting Environment for Pathogens

Water in the poultry barn can easily become a vector for microbial contamination. The nutrient-rich water lines and the warm environment of the poultry house are ideal growing conditions for bacteria and other pathogens. Therefore, water lines should be flushed regularly and cleaned between flocks, and water storage tanks routinely cleaned to prevent microbial growth.

Managing moisture and ammonia levels in poultry litter is also critical for reducing disease challenges and keeping birds healthy. This includes supplying adequate ventilation and regularly checking for water line leaks. Dry litter lessens the risk of disease, reduces morbidity and condemnations, and helps ammonia stay at acceptable levels. Windrowing the litter between flocks can help reduce the pathogen load because it heats the litter and allows the surrounding floor to dry out. Wet droppings due to poor intestinal health also increase moisture and ammonia in litter, which is another reason why supporting optimal intestinal health in birds is vital to production success.

NeutraPath®: A Natural Pathogen Control Product

As well as making the environmental conditions less favorable for pathogen growth, targeting the pathogens themselves is a key part of preventing enteric disease outbreaks in poultry. Traditionally, this was achieved by administering subtherapeutic levels of antibiotics, but natural, non-antibiotic products are now available for use in antibiotic-free production systems.

NeutraPath uses multiple modes of action to increase livability and improve feed conversion in antibiotic-free poultry. Using a proprietary and coactive blend of essential oils, fatty acids and Amlan’s proprietary mineral technology, NeutraPath reduces pathogenic bacterial load and colonization, and improves intestinal health and structural integrity, all of which contribute to improved performance and increased production yields.

The ability of NeutraPath to control pathogens has been proven in multiple studies, including in research published in Poultry Science. In the Poultry Science study, NeutraPath exhibited a potent antimicrobial effect against Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium strain PHL2020 and reduced its intestinal colonization. In another study, NeutraPath reduced ileal Clostridium perfringens populations compared to the challenged control (Figure 1). Feed conversion ratio and weight gain results ensued that were similar between NeutraPath and an in-feed antibiotic (BMD) and were significantly better than the challenged control (Figure 2).

NeutraPath® Reduced Necrotic Enteritis in Broilers Infographic | Amlan International
Figure 1: Ileal C. perfringens populations. 224 total birds. Source: Southern Poultry Research, Inc. Athens, GA.

NeutraPath® Day 0-28 Feed Conversion Ratio Infographic | Amlan International

NeutraPath® Day 0-28 Weight Gain Infographic | Amlan International
Figures 2 – 3: Feed conversion ratio and weight gain of necrotic enteritis-challenged broilers. 224 total birds. Source: Southern Poultry Research, Inc. Athens, GA.

 

NeutraPath doesn’t just perform under pathogen-challenged conditions, however. In a side-by-side commercial broiler house study for an integrated broiler producer in the southern United States (54,000 birds per house), NeutraPath performed better across all parameters measured, including a 0.56 percent increase in livability (Table 1).

NeutraPath® Improved Commercial Broiler Performance Infographic | Amlan International
Table 1: Comparative results of NeutraPath vs. control in a commercial broiler study.

Creating unfavorable environmental conditions for pathogens can help reduce enteric disease outbreaks in poultry. To further control pathogens, NeutraPath can be incorporated into rations to strengthen intestinal health and reduce the intestinal pathogen load. For more information on NeutraPath or to set up your own NeutraPath trial, contact info@amlan.com.

Exploring Coccidiosis Control Options, Including a New Natural Alternative

Phylox feed biology poultry house

The negative impact that coccidiosis has on bird health and production economics make it a constant challenge for poultry producers. Total eradication of Eimeria species from the poultry house is unlikely, so producers focus instead on suppressing coccidia to prevent subclinical disease performance loss, or worse, a clinical outbreak.

There are multiple options available for managing coccidiosis in poultry, including vaccination, and anticoccidials (synthetic chemicals and ionophores), although producers desire to move away from pharmaceutical solutions or harsh chemical additives, and concerns regarding resistance persist. A new natural alternative to anticoccidial drugs and vaccines — that provides equivalent performance — is Phylox® Feed. In this post, we provide an overview of each coccidiosis control method and share data on the comparable efficacy of Phylox.

Vaccines Stimulate Immunity Against Select Eimeria Strains

Administered to day-old chicks, vaccines targeted to specific Eimeria species stimulate the bird’s immune system and provide some immunity before they are exposed to wild-type Eimeria. Vaccination also aims to reduce the severity of coccidiosis symptoms if infections occur. However, live virulent vaccines — and to a lesser extent live attenuated ones — can still cause damage to the intestine that can affect performance that has to be overcome with sufficient grow out time and compensatory gain.   It is also important to note that birds are also not protected against all Eimeria strains, just those included in the vaccine dose itself.

Anticoccidial Chemicals Work Well, But May Promote Drug-Resistant Strains

There are multiple anticoccidial drugs available that are made from synthetic chemicals, all of which have different modes of action. Commonly used prophylactically to prevent outbreaks, these chemicals disrupt the Eimeria life cycle by working as either a coccidiostat or a coccidiocide. While they are effective, extended use of most anticoccidial chemicals can promote the emergence of drug-resistant Eimeria strains. Different programs can be used to help slow or stop resistance, such as bio-shuttle or rotation programs. Use of anticoccidial chemicals may also require a withdrawal period prior to slaughter.

Ionophores Are Effective — If Their Use Is Permitted

Ionophores are produced by the fermentation of microorganisms, and unlike anticoccidial chemicals, the mode of action of all ionophores is similar. They form a complex with ions (e.g., calcium, sodium, potassium) and transport this complex across the Eimeria cell membrane. This alters the electrochemical gradient and the cell dies. Ionophores are not effective against all coccidia life cycle stages. They can be used long-term and ionophore/synthetic chemical combination anticoccidials are available in some markets.

Ionophores also have some antibacterial activity, which has led to their classification as antibiotics in some regions. This has meant restriction of ionophore use in antibiotic-free production systems in those areas.

A Natural Feed Additive That Addresses the Shortcomings of Other Anticoccidials

Natural feed additives are available for producers looking for pharmaceutical-free anticoccidial solutions that can be used in a “no-antibiotics-ever” (NAE) production system. Amlan International recently launched Phylox Feed (available in select international markets), a natural alternative to anticoccidial drugs and vaccines. Phylox can be effective in a rotation strategy when resistance is a concern and can also be used with Amlan’s mineral-based products to help maintain gut health and improve efficiency.

Phylox is a synergistic blend of antiprotozoal phytochemicals that have multiple modes of action against the Eimeria life cycle. These actions include disrupting the Eimeria cell membrane and preventing oocyst sporulation and replication. Phylox also energizes host intestinal cells to create a strong intestinal barrier to resist disease and lightly primes the immune system by enhancing antigen presentation.

Phylox Exhibits Comparable Efficacy to Other Control Methods

In multiple third-party trials, including in broilers raised in floor pens, Eimeria-challenged broilers fed Phylox had equivalent or numerically improved performance compared to broilers administered industry-standard anticoccidials. This included vaccination, a bio-shuttle program, as well as when anticoccidial chemicals and ionophores were tested. 

Southern Poultry Research (Athens, GA) compared the relative efficacy of Phylox with a chemical coccidiostat (nicarbazin) and an ionophore (salinomycin) in broilers challenged with Eimeria species. Phylox showed equivalent feed conversion and coccidia lesion scores compared to the commercially available coccidiostats.

Feed Conversion Rate Info Graphic | Amlan International
Coccidial Lesion Scores Info Graphic | Amlan International

Similarly, in a study at the University of Arkansas, broilers raised in floor pens and fed Phylox had improved key performance indicators compared to the challenged control. Phylox also showed a numeric performance improvement in body weight compared to all tested industry anticoccidial standards, including vaccination and bio-shuttle with salinomycin, and statistically heavier body weight when compared to the treatment receiving an anticoccidial vaccine alone.

Additionally, Phylox did not interfere with vaccine efficacy when fed concomitantly, as Phylox provided equivalent results for all measured variables when it replaced salinomycin in a bio-shuttle program for broilers.  The performance of Phylox when fed on top of vaccination, and also in replacement for Salinomycin in a bio-shuttle program were important findings in this study as they demonstrated that Phylox is effective in preventing coccidial reinfection in poultry either through a reduction in oocyst shedding, or via the degradation of ingested oocysts in the gastrointestinal track before they are able to cause a significant incidence of the disease.

Average Body Weight Gain Info Graphic | Amlan International
Mortality-adjusted Feed Conversion Info Graphic | Amlan International

Phylox Feed fills the gaps that are missing from other coccidiosis control methods: it can be used in NAE programs, has no withdrawal requirement, won’t promote the emergence of drug-resistant coccidia and isn’t targeted to only specific Eimeria strains. Phylox can also have value in broiler breeder and/or table egg pullet replacement programs to prevent significant disease breakthroughs during the development of bird natural immunity.  For more information on how to incorporate Phylox into your coccidiosis control program, contact info@amlan.com.

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