Coffee & Careers Scholarship Winner – Third Place

Samson AbiodunOladukun

Dalhousie University – Ph.D. Student In Poultry Nutrition

Enzyme supplementation to non-traditional ingredients with the objective to lower feed cost without affecting performance.

By 2050, the demand for animal protein (meat and milk) is expected to increase by 57% and 48%, respectively, due to a projected increase in the global population [1]. Accordingly, livestock feed supply would need to increase from 6.0 to 7.3 billion tons of dry matter [2]. Interestingly, feed cost represents the greatest variable cost of production in livestock enterprises. Utilization of non-traditional ingredients like agricultural and industrial byproducts have been sought to reduce livestock feeding cost [3]. Despite the advantages attributable to the use of non-traditional ingredients, their adoption is limited by high fiber contents, optimum inclusion levels, nutrient digestibility, and availability [4]. The use of exogenous enzymes to overcome the limitations of nutrient availability continues to gain interest in the livestock industry. The current feed enzyme market is worth about $700-800 million USD [5].

Exogenous enzymes in the livestock industry include fiber-degrading enzymes (cellulase complexes, xylanases, pectinases), proteases, amylolytic enzymes, and phytic enzymes [6]. Exogenous enzymes improve animal performance by degrading the deleterious factors present in feedstuff, reducing animal maintenance requirements, modifying intestinal morphology, and modifying gut microbial populations [7-10]. The use of exogenous enzymes permits flexibility in least-cost feed formulation by allowing the use of a wide range of ingredients. Several studies have reported success regarding the supplementation of non-traditional ingredients with enzymes to improve animal performance at reduced cost [11-15]. Practically, non-traditional cereal grains, coproducts (like barley, triticale, low-tannin sorghum, and dried distillers’ grains with solubles (DDGS)) and pulses (like Napus canola meal) have been used to improve pig performance at a reduced cost [16]. In fact, as much as 13% feed cost reduction has been reported with the inclusion of 25% corn DDGS to grower-finisher pigs [17]. This feed-cost reduction advantage is even more relevant in countries facing food security challenges and grain scarcity; agro-industrial wastes like spent malted barley, DDGS, and brewer’s spent grains could be used with enzymes to improve animal performance at reduced cost. Aside’s performance improvement, exogenous enzymes also contribute positively to environmental sustainability by reducing animal-related pollution. Phytase, as an example, could help make bound phosphorus in feedstuffs available to the animal, thus reducing the quantity of inorganic phosphorus needed in diets, and subsequently decreasing the amount excreted into the environment [18]. Despite these benefits, it is noteworthy that enzyme activity could be affected by substrate concentration, ingredient digestibility, level of anti-nutritive factor, animal age, physiology, and enzyme inclusion rate [19-20].

Going forward, more research on a wide range of non-conventional feedstuff (including Bakery by-products, Sugar and Starch By-products, oilseed products, pomaces, etc.) and the evaluation of optimum enzyme inclusion level is expected to continue. The application of recombinant hydrolytic enzymes, especially multi-enzyme preparations rather than single preparations offers the potential to revolutionize the livestock industry. This offers a synergistic advantage over structurally complex feedstuffs. From the foregoing, exogenous enzyme supplementation remains a silver bullet to the utilization of non-conventional feed ingredients in animal production.

References upon request.

About Sam…

Sam is a second-year Ph.D. student at the Department of Animal Science and Aquaculture, Dalhousie University. His Ph.D. project in the area of Poultry Nutrition focuses on Sustainable Antibiotic Reduction in the poultry industry. In his first year of enrollment, he has been privileged to contribute two first-authored scientific articles to the scientific community, aside from other collaborations and conference presentations. Before joining Dalhousie University, he previously obtained a Master’s degree in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security from Newcastle University, United Kingdom.

Asides from academics, He also serves as the international student Peer Mentor with the International Centre at Dalhousie University. In this role, He is tasked with supporting new international students as they start their journey at Dalhousie. He hopes to be an academic member of a leading university in the near future, where He hopes to continue to lead curious minds like his to ask the right scientific questions, as He opines that questions and not answers create knowledge.

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