‘Gut cleaning’ – A new innovation for health and efficiency in swine

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Supporting the piglet at weaning starts with protecting the gut – including using a muramidase to reduce negative effects of peptidoglycans. 

Targeting the bacterial cell debris that is continually released into the gastrointestinal tract as gut bacteria divide and die, is a unique and new source of activity for enzyme action explains GEOFF HANDLEY*.

Supporting efficient digestion of the varied ingredients that make up the feed of a pig by use of enzymes is not a new concept. DSM has developed a portfolio of six enzymes that target specific fractions of the feed, whether that would be the starches and NSPs in grains, amino acids in protein meals like soya or canola, or unlocking the bound phosphorus and other minerals across those ingredients. This enzyme range now includes an innovation that targets the nutrition contained in bacterial cell debris

Figure 1: The dead bacterial cells are high in peptidoglycans (PGNs), which when deposited amongst the villi of the gut, can potentially block absorption sites. In addition, these PGN’s increase the chance for maintaining a low grade, chronic inflammation and sickness that results from that activity.

Muramidase – reducing the negative effects of peptidoglycans

Peptidoglycans (PGN) are a major component of bacterial cell walls and are significant in gram-positive bacteria but are also found in gram-negative bacteria. Peptidoglycans are a key component of the mechanism by which the gut recognizes the presence of bacteria and initiates an immunological response. When bacteria die, the cell debris including PGN can trigger an immune response by binding to the epithelial cell toll-like receptor-2 (TLR-2). The resulting inflammatory processes can lead to a reduction in nutrient absorption in the small intestine and exacerbate nutrient flow to the hindgut where pathogens can grow. Application of a specific muramidase can cleave PGN creating muramyl dipeptide (MDP) thereby reducing the negative effects of the PGN. Furthermore, MDP is taken up by the epithelial cell and activates another receptor, NOD-2.  When NOD-2 receptors are activated, they initiate an anti-inflammatory effect through their role in barrier protection and surveillance of the cell wall.  The use of a muramidase may therefore assist in balancing the pro- and anti-inflammatory effects that bacterial debris create in the intestine and result in improved piglet average daily gain.

Figure 2: Effect of Balancius on piglet mortality during the nursery period.

Results in pigs

Exciting results for our Balancius product for broilers and layers have been confirmed, so we are now in a position to extend that work to swine and specifically piglets where every digestive benefit can be translated to better growth, survivability and efficiency.

This unique muramidase, Balancius, hydrolyzes the peptidoglycans (PGNs), thereby improving absorption of nutrients and dampening inflammation in the intestines through the activation of the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain (NOD2) receptors by the muramyl peptide (the end-product of PGN hydrolysis).  

The performance results for this unique enzyme have been compelling across many countries. We’ve seen nice weight gain improvements, but the best result has been improved health as measured by reduced morbidity and mortality (Figure 2).

*Geoff Handley (geoff.handley@dsm.com) is Swine Marketing Manager for Greater APAC with DSM Nutritional Products Asia Pacific. References are available on request to the author.

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