WHAT IS GUT HEALTH AND WHY DOES IT MATTER FOR ANIMAL FARMING?
Gut health encompasses the morphological development and the physiological function of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of animals. It is highly important to understand all interactions between the elements that affect the status of the GIT. Why? Because the GIT is essential for nutrient digestibility and absorption, but as the first immune organ it is also the first line of defense against pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and parasites. It is also the second largest nervous system.
The gut health for animal farming concept
We now understand gut health and physiology at a more detailed level than ever before. We know how to balance dietary nutrients better to fulfill animals’ needs at different life stages for optimal growth and health, and the important role played by commensal bacterial ecosystems (microbiomes) in gut health and performance.
Evonik develops science-based solutions based on that understanding and provides livestock producers with tools to enhance both nutrition and gut health for animal farming and therefore to achieve the right balance between performance and sustainability.
There are many issues affecting the intestinal health of animals, among these are heat stress, feed nutritional values and quality, parasites, antibiotic growth promoter (AGP) replacements, and the main pathogenic bacteria. These type of challenges have a direct impact on the GIT, especially when one or many of these leads to an imbalance in the system. This can result in a negative alteration of the microbiota and gut morphology leading to bigger problems, such as: poor animal performance, lower flock uniformity, higher mortality and poor litter and air quality. If not treated and solved, they can create a vicious circle.
Feed & Environment: Feed quality and composition vary, because of the raw materials being used but also because in-feed formulation aims to reach optimal growth performance. For example, a feed formulation with excess protein can lead to a shift towards negative metabolite and cause inflammation and outgrowth of pathogenic bacteria, and a decrease in performance. Heat stress is one of the environmental challenges affecting intestinal health and requires a holistic approach that includes improvement and management of housing systems, lighting programs, water system & quality and nutritional strategies.
Microbiota: Looking for the overall balance of the ecosystems of microorganisms living inside the gut and maintaining gut integrity are utmost priorities. The use of antibiotic growth promoters (AGP) in feeds contributes to the alteration of the GIT.
Poor digestion and nutrient absorption are consequences of poor feed quality and imbalanced diets. Anything that threatens the integrity of the gut microbiota affects the morphological and functional alteration of the GIT, the foundation of gut health.
Guthealth for animal farming solutions
Gut health challenges cannot be treated or solved by any single solution nor with a single product or service alone. These should be combined with farm management along with products, services and nutritional system solutions that will allow the intestinal ecosystem to be balanced. At Evonik, we are continuously developing and building our gut health for animal farming solutions.
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