Hans Stein, professor of animal science at U of I, leads a research team which has been studying the interactions between phytate, phytase, and calcium.
“Currently, discussion in the swine industry is focused on calcium digestibility and formulating diets based on digestible calcium,” Stein said. “Research results indicate that phytase increases calcium digestibility, so this effect should be taken into consideration when it comes to diet formulation.”
Carrie Walk, senior research manager at AB Vista, says new understandings of the wide-ranging negative impacts of phytate on animal nutrition are likely to bring positive changes to dietary formulation.
“We know that phytate destruction in the intestinal tract has massive benefits on nutrient utilization and performance,” Walk said. “Four or five years ago people were using phytase to release phosphorus. Now we understand more about phytate and its influence on nutrients as well as animal performance, and we can formulate diets based on more complete phytate destruction and provision of nutrients beyond phosphorus.”
The summit saw a renewed commitment between academics and industry representatives to connect the science of enzymes and feed ingredients to real-world applications, says Mike Kidd from the University of Arkansas. One such area of research is amino acids, where under or over supply can significantly impact animal performance.
“Phytase appears to influence amino acid digestibility, so researching the underlying mechanisms is important if we’re going to take the next steps in understanding what’s going on,” Kidd said.
Professor Merlin Lindemann of the University of Kentucky believes new developments in the industry’s understanding of nutrition could have a significant impact on feed formulation.