12 May 2022 – Gut health has become an important factor to consider in modern poultry production. A bird’s ability to make optimal use of nutrients in the diet is vital to its performance, growth and wellbeing, which can help it better withstand common production stressors and achieve its genetic potential.
Organic acids, like butyric acid and valeric acid, which occur naturally in the gut, play a significant role in regulating gastrointestinal health in birds. But because of the short production cycles of the modern broiler, they are sometimes only present in small quantities in the gut. Gastrivix™ Avi, a new product from specialty chemicals maker, Perstorp, combines esters of these two acids in one formulation to boost their presence in the gut, therefore upping the positive effects they can have on intestinal integrity and performance.
The company – which has a storied history in producing esters of organic acids and says it is the first to produce and successfully trial the commercial use of valeric acid in animal nutrition – believes that Gastrivix™ Avi can “promote reliable growth and performance in birds” and help farmers solve multiple business challenges, like reducing feed volumes for a broiler’s lifecycle, boosting return on investment, and more.
In this Industry Perspectives we checked in with Perstorp’s EVP for Animal Nutrition, Aart Mateboer and Global Technical Manager, Burak Sarpel Ruperez to find out more about the benefits and science of Gastrivix™ Avi and how the product fits into the company’s recently refreshed strategy to further boost its presence in animal nutrition.
[Feedinfo] How has the strategy for your animal nutrition division evolved over the last few years? What is behind the decision to ramp up bringing new products to market?
[Aart Mateboer] A very detailed strategy analysis was done by the Perstorp Animal Nutrition team based on a number of market surveys done by consultancy firms. The outcome of that exercise informed our choice to build on the experience we gained over the years of bringing ProPhorce™ SR 130 to market, one of the first gut health products based on esters of butyric acid, and invest in the next generation of gut health products that will support the animal protein industry in its mission to eliminate the use of antibiotics.
[Feedinfo] How does Gastrivix™ Avi fit into this strategy? How did the idea for this product come about and how long was it in development?
[Aart Mateboer] The development took about three years. The basis for the development was the scientific work done at the University of Ghent on the use of both butyric and valeric acid as gut health modulators and in understanding the mode of action in the gut for both compounds.
[Feedinfo] That brings us to the science behind Gastrivix™ Avi. The product uses both butyric acid and valeric acid in the form of esters. What makes the esterification of these acids so beneficial here?
[Burak Sarpel Ruperez] Esterification process ensures a product that is resistant to broiler feed pelleting temperatures, has a more neutral odour and, most importantly, releases the active compounds in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). It allows the attachment of one or more molecules of butyric or valeric acid to a single backbone, which means that we can deliver more concentrated products. For example, in comparison to the salts of butyric acid, we can see double the delivery of active compounds. This saves a lot of valuable space, not only in the feed, but also at the warehouse. So, in terms of practicality, esterification ensures user friendliness and easy handling in the mill.
[Feedinfo] And why specifically these two acids? How do they work together to improve broiler gut health and growth?
[Burak Sarpel Ruperez] We know that in nature these two molecules are essential for the development of the gastrointestinal tract. They are mostly produced by the microbiome in the caecum, and they both take direct part in the architecture of the intestinal tissues or metabolic activities locally. Especially valeric acid, being a bridge between short chain and medium chain fatty acids, can overlap with and even complement some of the roles of butyric acid. Independent research has shown that the valeric acid has the potential to mitigate some of the dangers that might be associated with certain pathogens; for example, the partial inhibition of Net-B toxin production by Clostridia. We see a pattern in the functioning and supporting action of these acids on gut integrity, on the barrier function, on local defence modulation, and most importantly, on broiler performance. We believe and defend that one of the best ways to evaluate the success of a gut health strategy is by performance, feed conversion ratio (FCR) and poultry efficiency factors.
[Feedinfo] A key selling point for Gastrivix™ Avi is that it can achieve “a significant improvement in FCR”. How “significant” are we talking here and how were you able to determine this?
[Burak Sarpel Ruperez] I guess it is only fair to mention that we have explored multiple external and internal molecules and created numerous formulas over the years to reach Gastrivix™ Avi. Our quest was to find the best solution for performance and FCR for today’s modern broiler. In the end we kept our validation process and today we can proudly mention that across eight concluded independent trials, we have achieved up to 8 points of FCR and up to 59 points of European Production Efficiency Factor improvements.
[Feedinfo] Gastrivix™ Avi joins ProPhorce™ SR, your more established broiler gut health solution that also uses esterified butyric acid. How do the two compare in terms of FCR, average daily gain, etc.? How should producers go about choosing between the two?
[Burak Sarpel Ruperez] This is an interesting question. The short answer to the second part of it is that, in comparison, Gastrivix™ Avi brings additional value and a robust Return on Investment for broilers, whereas ProPhorce™ SR remains an important product for other specific applications, such as in layer or swine production. I should clarify that our gut health range is much broader than just ProPhorce™ SR and Gastrivix™ Avi. We have a wide range of gastric acidifiers and water solution products with proven benefits. So, when we look at the bigger picture, we cover almost all steps of enterobacteria mitigation and performance enhancement for livestock production. We support and advise our valuable customers with an extensive team of sales, product, regulatory, and technical managers, as well as our customer service.
[Feedinfo] ProPhorce™ SR is also available for use with swine. Is this something that lies in Gastrivix™ Avi’s future?
[Burak Sarpel Ruperez] Gastrivix™ Avi, as the name suggests, was developed explicitly for broilers and poultry. Our Innovation team is working on different solutions, for different species, and of course swine segment is in our pipeline.
[Feedinfo] So, Mr Mateboer, following on from that, what should the animal nutrition sector be looking forward to from Perstorp? What’s next in the R&D pipeline?
[Aart Mateboer] Perstorp’s Marketing and Innovation team has a detailed product development plan for the coming years that is a result of dialogue with our customers to understand what keeps them awake at night. The plan covers several species and focuses on a number of challenges animal protein producers are facing.
Published in association with Perstorp