MCFA research expanding

Following the implementation of new rules regarding the use of antimicrobials and continued advancement of key sustainability initiatives, new advances in animal feed and nutrition technology may be ushering in a new era of progress for poultry, swine and ruminant industries.

For example, medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA) technology pioneered and advanced by Nuscience — part of the Royal Agrifirm Group — has shown increased interest and adoption across the Canadian market, Nuscience said in an announcement.

Among numerous benefits, Nuscience said recent results from leading universities and research institutions are expanding the knowledge of specific MCFA advantages that support animal health and performance, providing an in-feed safeguard against viral contamination, protecting animals against a variety of wellness and stress challenges and supporting control strategies against major pathogens.

“The global animal feed and nutrition sector, along with animal agriculture, is rapidly transitioning to the future,” said Dr. Rob Goedegebuure, global lead of Health4U Feed Additives at Nuscience. “There are rising challenges but also tremendous opportunities. Advances such as MCFA technology are helping to lead the way and push the pace by providing new solutions for safe, nutritious and high-quality animal food that offers enhanced benefits for animals, the producers and their industries and, ultimately, for consumers.”

The MCFA technology offers a science-driven platform that fits today’s marketplace expectations for sustainable, bio-based solutions, Nuscience said.

Nuscience is touring Canada to share the latest knowledge and opportunities about MCFA with producers, companies, industry, veterinarians and nutritionists. Nuscience, along with Canadian Bio-Systems Inc., its strategic marketing partner for Nuscience technology in the Canadian market, is seeing further strong uptake of MCFA by a range of companies and operations, including many that have now utilized this technology with excellent results over multiple production cycles, the company said.

According to Nuscience, MCFA are molecules consisting of 6- to 12-carbon length chains that — under the right formulations and strategies — have shown functional activities beneficial to all phases of livestock production and value chain movement. This includes particular advantages during critical periods of transition and vulnerability over the course of production cycles, the company said.

Nuscience said its MCFA technology has also been shown to help optimize intrinsic health and immunity across livestock species by positively supporting gut morphology.

In swine, along with broad animal performance benefits, among the specific pathogen control advantages with MCFA are supporting strategies to safeguard feed and animals against a number of top concerns. This includes the potential shown against enveloped viruses, such as porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, porcine reproductive and respiratory virus and African swine fever (ASF), Nuscience said.

MCFA also shows unique advantages to reduce vertical transmission of disease between sows and piglets and to address persistent bacterial pathogen threats such as Streptococcus suis, the company added.

The more we have learned about the advantages of MCFA for swine production, the more the opportunities and application strategies have expanded,” Nuscience account manager Dr. Fokko Aldershoff said. “Today in particular, there is a lot of focus on the benefits for helping to address threats such as ASF that are changing the global pig production landscape.

We have seen early positive research results related to the ASF potential, and we will be conducting further research,” Aldershoff added.

In poultry, Nuscience said the core benefits also extend to advantages tailored for supporting gut health and providing safeguards for poultry reared under high infection pressures. This includes supporting pathogen control against a number of major threats. Overall, MCFA has been shown to enhance strategies for improved growth rate and feed efficiency, higher breast meat yield, better digestion and litter quality and stronger overall health status.

Poultry production in North America is shifting rapidly to antimicrobial use reduction, aligning with other key world production regions,” Jan Vervloesem, poultry category manager with Nuscience, said. “MCFA is proven as a unique and highly effective tool to support this transition and contribute in a number of critical ways to enhanced productivity by supporting bird health, including gut health and morphology, which allows for optimal performance.

The company noted that for ruminants, MCFA benefits extend to specific advantages for both dairy and beef cattle, primarily related to improved rumen function and enhanced immune status. For dairy cows, these advantages support milk yield and quality, along with an improved plane of immunity. With calves, using MCFA in milk replacers and starter diets supports improved daily gain, feed conversion ratio and health status. In beef cattle, additional potential has been shown related to growth rate.