Feed International - August 2017 - 30
30 ❙ FeedInternational
PHYTOGENICS AFFECT ANIMALS
but a larger one will depress feed
intake - at least in most animals, as
is the case with humans, too.
Modern phytogenic products
Luckily, phytogenics offer more
benefits than problems, and scientific
advances in their production have
created commercial products that
are highly standardized, stable and
provide the correct dosage for each
animal age, class and species. In addition to this, modern phytogenics are
often (micro) encapsulated to protect
volatile ingredients from feed processing and release the active compounds
in the animals' gastrointestinal tract.
Nevertheless, like any additive,
phytogenics will not be found to be
effective in 100 percent of the cases
in which they are used. This is due to
two reasons; first, they are not needed,
as their action is already covered by
some other compound in the feed,
or the wrong product has been used
while testing for the wrong response.
It is, therefore, imperative to understand how these compounds work.
Mode of action
That phytogenics comprise a
group of distinct and often quite
different compounds offers many
benefits as we can find solutions
to many problems. The same fact,
however, increases the degree of
complexity in using these products
as they all appear to work quite differently. It is interesting to consider
that phytogenic compounds exist in
the plants in which we have found
PHYTOGENICS ARE HIGHLY
required at minimal levels to elicit
a response in the animal's gut.
them for a reason.
To understand this reasoning, it
is imperative to accept that plants
do not have an immunity system
along the same lines as animals.
And, to make matters even more
difficult for them, they cannot turn
away from their predators. Thus,
bacteria, viruses, fungi and herbivore animals must be repelled
by other means. Going back to the
hot-chili effect of peppers, one can
quickly visualize how "painful" it
must be for herbivores to consume
large quantities of peppers. Other
compounds appear to cause similar
problems to microorganisms by
either killing them outright or creating an environment where it is
difficult for them to live. Thus, the
phytogenic compounds we have
isolated from specific plants are
those compounds that are responsible to protect plants, just like the
immunity system and the mobility of animals protects them from
their own enemies.
But, what happens next when
animals, such as poultry, consume
controlled quantities of these plant
"medicines"? Next, we shall examine some of the prevailing theories that are defined and documented
at variable degrees.
■ Digestive enchantment. We have
already discussed capsaicin, and
thus it is suitable to start with
this very common phytogenic
additive. Capsaicin is a common
compound found in several phytogenic commercial mixes. It is not
as volatile as other compounds,
and it does not appear to affect
microorganisms like bacteria in
the gut - at least not directly.
Research has demonstrated that
capsaicin increases secretion of
digestive enzymes that result in
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ August/September 2017