In modern animal production, a wide range of feed raw materials are used to formulate pig diets. Feed evaluation systems estimate the nutritional composition of the diet based on the individual characteristics of each raw material. However, the real nutritional value of a diet also depends on the interactions between individual nutrients.
For instance, research has shown that starch digestion can affect the utilisation of protein (the portal flux of essential amino acids is higher for pigs fed diets rich in slow digestible starch when compared with diets rich in rapid digestible starch). Research has also shown that the presence of starch in the large intestine, namely resistant starch, can influence the degradation of fibre as it alters microbial population activity and the endogenous enzyme profile. This results in the reduction of total tract digestibility of fibre and delays in its fermentation.
It is obvious that pig performance is affected by the rate of nutrient absorption, which is a combination of the rate of hydrolysis and digesta transport through the gastrointestinal tract. Digesta transport depends on the composition and properties of the digesta. Typically, digesta is a complex suspension of particles changing continuously as it passes along the gastrointestinal tract. The soluble and insoluble fractions of the digesta travel at different speeds. Consequently, nutrient absorption kinetics depends on the solubility of nutrients which depend on several factors including:
- dry matter content of the whole digesta
- concentration of soluble and insoluble fractions
- water holding capacity
Due to the complexity of the digestive process and all the nutrient interactions, nutritional tools which clearly improve nutrient digestibility are key to achieving optimal animal performance and cost-effective production.
Non-starch polysaccharide degrading enzymes (NSPases) play a critical role in the release of nutrients and energy which are used by the animal. Their influence on the digestive process (viscosity, transit time, microflora), alongside the hydrolysis of soluble and insoluble fibre has a proven positive result in the zootechnical performance of pigs.
The response to NSPase application can vary due to factors including animal health status, gut microflora, production conditions, and soluble and insoluble NSP content in the diet. Despite this, an NSPase will influence digestive processes by increasing the digestibility of NSPs in the small intestine by the formation of a specific combination of oligosaccharides. Not only will the oligosaccharides be available for fermentation by the microbial gut flora in the large intestine, but the reduction in NSP content will reduce the viscosity of the digesta, changing the speed of transport through the gastrointestinal tract.
Hostazym® X, the NSPase for gut health management
To understand the effects of Hostazym® X (an enzymatic complex targeting fibre degradation) on piglet performance, beyond its proven positive effect of increasing nutrient digestibility and consequently piglet performance, a series of research trials were designed to measure ileal viscosity effects, total tract digestibility of soluble and insoluble NSPs, intestinal integrity and inflammatory response when using Hostazym® X compared with a blank control treatment.
The results show that:
- Hostazym® X significantly decreases ileal viscosity (Figure 1), which alters the digesta flow rate
- Hostazym® X significantly improves total tract digestibility of both soluble and insoluble NSPs (Figure 2), supporting better nutrient digestibility
- Hostazym® X positively influences intestinal integrity (Figure 3) along with reducing inflammatory response factors (TNF-α) at the plasma level
All these significant effects support the animal due to a healthier gut environment which contributes to an improvement in zootechnical performance.