Helping Poultry Beat the Heat with Microencapsulated Phytase Enzymes
Concerns exist as to whether use of phytase enzymes in poultry feed lead to decrease feed intake during excessive heat, characteristic of the summer months. Reduction of phytase reduces intake of calcium, phosphorus and trace minerals which are important in eggshell formation and resistance. Jones in 2012 reported that significant loss of phytase activity during steam conditioning and pelleting of feed is a limiting factor in phytase use. She commented that making enzymes more heat-stable is a way to overcome phytase instability. Jones recommended coating technology to protect the enzyme or manipulating enzymes into more thermostable variants. Both technologies have been found to significantly improve enzyme stability and have been successfully used to produce commercial products.
At a Midwest lab in 2010, research showed a 94% recovery of coated microencapsulated phytase enzymes that were subjected to steam pelleting. Feed manufactures who have incorporated phytase enzymes that have been coated microencapsulated and stabilized then subjected to steam pelleting into the diets of poultry and swine have reported increased benefits during periods of heat stress similar to benefits observed during cooler months.
A good coating needs to protect the enzyme molecule through the feed manufacturing process, but also needs to release the product very quickly in the upper part of the gut to ensure optimum efficiency is achieved. Coated microencapsulated stabilized phytase enzymes are viable alternative and are available for incorporation into the diets of monogastric animals.