Pig International - September 2017 - 8
8 ❙ PigInternational
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 them for a reason.
PHYTOGENICS ARE HIGHLY
required at minimal levels to elicit
a response in the animal's gut.
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 mobil-
ity 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 ❙ September 2017