Pig International - July/August 2017 - 11
PigInternational ❙ 11
Cinnamon contains one of the most widely used phytogenic compounds, cinnamaldehyde.
pounds than we could probably detect. Oregano extract,
for example, contains carvacrol, thymol, linaleol and
terpineol, among other minor compounds. In practice,
however, it is carvacrol, and to a lesser extent, thymol,
that have been found to be most effective as animal feed
additives. Today, the most effective compounds are purified (more expensive) or synthesized (less expensive)
so that their quality (concentration and potency) can be
standardized precisely for commercial purposes.
Most modern phytogenic additives contain blends of
pure compounds because this enables characterization
and consistency, not only in terms of manufacturing and
marketing, but also in dosaging animal feeds. This latter aspect is not insignificant, because an excess of phytogenics will turn animals away from feed - it is like
adding too much of any spice in our own food.
Their role inside plants
Although we remain far from declaring
we fully understand the role of all secondary
plant metabolism compounds - there are
more than 25,000 such molecules - we can at least
describe a few generic functions:
■ Antioxidant activity. It has been shown that plants
grown in heat-stressed areas have a higher concentration of some phytogenic compounds.
As we know that thermal stress
increases oxidation, we can
assume that some phytogenic compounds became
vital for survival during heat
stress. They might help plants in
many other activities that reduce the impact
of heat stress, but this only increases their significance.
■ Self-defense. Some compounds show strong antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal activities. It merits
repeating that plants cannot escape their environment, as animals can, and thus they depend on
their own production of chemical weaponry and
pharmaceuticals. In addition, they have to defend
against herbivores; most of the phytogenic compounds in question create an unpleasant eating experience when in high enough concentrations, but a
most pleasant one when in tiny amounts.
aids. At small concentrations, certain
phytogenics attract plant pollinators, such as bees,
and seed-dispersing animals, such as birds. They
offer a pleasant experience in return for helping
PHYTOGENICS IMPROVE FEED EFFICIENCY in both
poultry and pigs, in all age classes of both species.
July/August 2017 ❙ www.WATTAgNet.com