Xylanase in Corn-Fed Finisher Pig Diets? Latin America Leads the Way29 January 2016
Traditionally there has been an industry-wide question mark around the use of xylanase in corn-based diets primarily due to the insufficient supporting evidence and inconsistencies within published research.
Combined with frustrations over the lack of standardized assay as well as issues around thermostability, there is a lack of confidence among pig producers when it comes to xylanases, particularly in Latin America where a typical pig diet is corn-based.
However, momentum has been building and talking to customers recently in the Latin American market, it has become clear that the use of fiber-degrading enzymes such as xylanases in swine is becoming more popular!
This news highlights to me that our pig producers like to think ‘outside the box’ when it comes to improving efficiencies! There are now an estimated 50% of producers using xylanase-based products in finishing diets and I imagine that will increase as we understand more about how xylanases work.
So why are we seeing an increase of xylanase use in Latin American finisher pig producers?
I think people are more aware of the potential value that comes from improving their finishing diets; improvements in feed conversion efficiency all the way up to slaughter are not to be dismissed so easily! So what benefits does xylanase bring to corn-fed finisher pig diets?
Recent mechanisms have shown xylanases to deliver improved nutrient digestibility through the breakdown of long chain dietary arabinoxylans into small chain xylo-oligomers. These are extremely important to the response seen in corn-based diets; they act as prebiotics, influencing gut hormones and resulting in an increased stomach retention time, improving whole diet digestibility. This is particularly good news for finisher pigs that are fed cheaper, less digestible diets. The production of these small chain xylo-oligomers also increase the production of volatile fatty acids (VFA) which act as an additional energy source for the pig and support growth of beneficial gut bacteria. As a pig ages, it has the ability to utilize a greater portion of the volatile fatty acids (VFA) produced, with up to 30% of the energy from degraded fibre utilized by the animal.
The industry in Latin America, and I’m sure throughout the rest of the world, is constantly trying to improve efficiencies and as in so many aspects of swine production, thinking ‘outside the box’ can open the door to significant financial gains.
With this greater understanding of the mechanism and with the performance data being more consistent and positive with xylanase in corn diets, I wouldn’t be surprised if the question mark around xylanase use begins to go away.
Ana Paula Henrique – Profile
Following her Animal Science degree from UNESP (Universidade do Estado de São Paulo) and Master’s degree in Animal Productivity and Quality from USP (Universidade de São Paulo), Ana Paula Henrique has been working in the animal nutrition industry for 15 years, recently with emphasis on swine nutrition. As technical manager for AB Vista in Latin America, Ana Paula spends a lot of her time is spent supporting swine producers across the Latin American markets.