27 April 2022 – During the early feeding stages of production animals’ lives producers have an unmatched opportunity to stimulate the development of a robust immune system and establish gastrointestinal integrity, both of which can positively impact future growth and performance.
Nutrition is vital to unlocking these benefits, but, considering the underdeveloped digestive system of young animals, this can sometimes be easier said than done. In the case of piglets and calves, producers are often faced with a host of weaning challenges manifesting in the gut that can impact the animal’s ability to digest and extract key nutrients from their rations. This, in turn, can affect their growth performance and also make them more susceptible to disease and impact their ability to withstand production stressors.
“We know that certain nutritional ingredients can have long-lasting effects on performance and gut health and promote better tolerance to pathogenic and stress challenges throughout the animal’s life cycle,” APC’s Victor Deike told Feedinfo. “In today’s environment, implementing appropriate nutritional strategies that support immune efficiency and development, and promote intestinal integrity and functionality are critical to help increase tolerance to stress and disease, as well as foster growth and health in later stages.”
Mr. Deike, who is the EMEA Sales and Marketing Director at the international functional proteins maker, also pointed out that this approach can go a long way in helping animal agriculture accelerate its antibiotics reduction efforts.
In this Industry Perspectives, he highlights how the company’s hydrolyzed protein product, PEPTEIVA, can help producers navigate common gut and production challenges in piglets and calves by making protein peptides more readily available and digestible for their developing digestive systems.
[Feedinfo] How can hydrolyzed protein help with common feeding challenges in young animals? What effect can it have on the gut?
[Victor Deike] Bioactive peptides have been reported to exist inherently or generated by protein hydrolysis in various protein sources like milk, lysozyme, red blood cells or plasma. Bioactive peptides have been defined as specific protein fragments that can have a positive influence on physiological and metabolic functions or conditions in the body that may ultimately have beneficial effects on human or animal health.
For young animals, availability and functionality of nutrients is key. A hydrolyzed protein like APC’s PEPTEIVA provides functional peptides from their original proteins, porcine in this case. During the hydrolysis process, the proteins are fractioned into different peptides, in a sort of pre-digestion, making them readily available in the gastrointestinal tract of the animal and increasing their effectiveness from the moment of ingestion.
We supply biologically functional peptides tackling the innate and immune response, as well as having antibacterial and antioxidant properties, amongst others.
When looking at piglets, several of these peptides from PEPTEIVA’s original protein substrate can be found in the piglet’s digestive tract during the normal digestion of their originating porcine proteins.
Last but not least, with PEPTEIVA we have an ingredient that can be used to feed all animal species in the EU, broadening the scope of availability compared to other functional proteins we produce, like spray dried swine plasma.
[Feedinfo] Gut integrity in post-weaning piglets is notoriously tricky to establish. And with the industry moving away from the therapeutic use of ZnO to address this issue, how can PEPTEIVA help producers with their replacement efforts? What findings can you share on its effectiveness here?
[Victor Deike] PEPTEIVA can be fed to all animal species, providing a polyvalent ingredient to tackle immune and digestive issues. It can also be used in multispecies operations without any cross-contamination issues (from a legal standpoint).
With the partial ban of the therapeutic use of zinc oxide in the EU, an effective functional tool is now available and can be used in feed mills as well as mixing stations with multispecies setups.
PEPTEIVA can be part of a multivariant ZnO replacement solution, similarly to porcine plasma, because in both cases it helps improve the immune response, as well as the gut health status. This means that the ZnO “ban” can be overcome and, in some cases, even improved. We have also seen that growth parameters can sometimes even be improved in specific production settings. For example, in a study conducted at the University of Illinois with weaned piglets under an unspecific challenge environment (an uncleaned pen), we found that PEPTEIVA at 2.8% and 5.6% inclusion levels in the diet during first 14 days postweaning lineally improved the body weight, average daily gain and feed conversion during first 42 days when replacing concentrated soy protein in the control diet. Interestingly, we did not observe a difference in performance between the supplementation of PEPTEIVA and spray-dried plasma (SDP), clearly suggesting that peptides in PEPTEIVA retain some of the functional health benefits associated with SDP.
[Feedinfo] What about rumen development in pre-weaning calves? What effect can hydrolyzed protein have on rumen integrity and how does this translate into better growth performance during this critical stage?
[Victor Deike] Young calves are very sensitive to pathological and digestive stress pressures. Usually, undigested feed mass accumulation in the hind gut, together with E. coli appearance and other pathological pressures, drive the young calves to slower growth, diarrhea and even higher mortality. This raises their need for higher medication levels.
Young calves are fed similarly to monogastrics, supplying them with valuable and expensive ingredients. PEPTEIVA can replace part of them, providing the young calf with highly digestible amino acids, as well as a consistent digestive performance and broadening the spectrum of the highly digestible and palatable ingredients.
[Feedinfo] How does hydrolyzed protein perform compared to standard all milk and alternative milk protein replacements in calf feeding? What findings can you share with us?
[Victor Deike] During the weaning phase, we have seen a positive replacement value, generally without reformulating the amino acid balance, with the inclusion of up to 5% of PEPTEIVA without any issue. At these levels, and further, PEPTEIVA is an efficient alternative for high value dairy ingredients like skim milk powder or whey protein concentrate on an iso-protein replacement.
[Feedinfo] With young animal immunity still developing in these early stages, what can you tell us about the safety of your products considering they are derived from animal blood?
[Victor Deike] PEPTEIVA, indeed, is an ingredient derived from animal blood. Specifically, from porcine blood. The production process of this ingredient uses blood from healthy animals that have passed veterinary inspection and are declared fit for slaughter for human consumption, which is mandatory in the EU. During the hydrolysis process, the product is treated for a long time at a high temperature and a specific pH with proteases that inactivate any potential pathogen. Finally, the product is dehydrated through spray-drying at very high temperatures, somewhat similar to meat pasteurization.
On top of that, with today’s staging and traceability norms, as well as our existing quality control parameters, the result is a guaranteed safe, reliable and effective ingredient.
[Feedinfo] Looking at Europe, how has last year’s approval of PAPs in the EU informed your strategy on the continent?
[Victor Deike] The PAP approval in the EU is a clear endorsement of the safety of the whole animal by-products industry. All producers and products are thoroughly monitored, with all of our production methods needing to meet defined safety and compliance criteria.
A broader scope of use of PAPs has always been desirable, although both our functional protein products – spray dried blood plasma and hydrolyzed porcine proteins – have been legal to use for years, with PEPTEIVA being authorized for feeding ruminants, too.
Now with PAPs on the market, they can complement our protein products, especially in an environment putting pressure on the continued de-medicalization trend.
Published in association with APC