News Update on Animal feeding : Apr 2022

Probiotics and prebiotics in animal feeding for safe food production

Recent outbreaks of food-borne diseases highlight the need for reducing bacterial pathogens in foods of animal origin. Animal enteric pathogens are a direct source for food contamination. The ban of antibiotics as growth promoters (AGPs) has been a challenge for animal nutrition increasing the need to find alternative methods to control and prevent pathogenic bacterial colonization. The modulation of the gut microbiota with new feed additives, such as probiotics and prebiotics, towards host-protecting functions to support animal health, is a topical issue in animal breeding and creates fascinating possibilities. Although the knowledge on the effects of such feed additives has increased, essential information concerning their impact on the host are, to date, incomplete. For the future, the most important target, within probiotic and prebiotic research, is a demonstrated health-promoting benefit supported by knowledge on the mechanistic actions. Genomic-based knowledge on the composition and functions of the gut microbiota, as well as its deviations, will advance the selection of new and specific probiotics. Potential combinations of suitable probiotics and prebiotics may prove to be the next step to reduce the risk of intestinal diseases and remove specific microbial disorders. In this review we discuss the current knowledge on the contribution of the gut microbiota to host well-being. Moreover, we review available information on probiotics and prebiotics and their application in animal feeding. [1]

Carbohydrate and lignin contents of plant materials used in animal feeding

A total of 115 samples representing 38 different feedstuffs was analysed for carbohydrates and lignin. The samples were analysed for low-molecular weight (LMW) sugars by high-performance liquid chromatography, starch, fructan and mixed linked β(1 → 3;1 → 4)-D-glucan by colorimetry, total, soluble and insoluble non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) by gas-liquid chromatography and lignin by gravimetry. For all but alfalfa meal, almost quantitative recovery of carbohydrates and lignin was obtained with a deviation between calculated and analysed values of less than 2 g kg−1 dry matter. The correlation between calculated and analysed values was 0.985 (P < 0.0001).


The concentration (g kg−1 dry matter) of LMW-sugars varied from 5 g kg−1 and up to 137 g kg−1 with the lowest values found in cereal substitutes, whole grain cereals and by-products while the protein concentrates in general had the highest content of LMW-sugars (57–137 g kg−1). Starch was the main polysaccharide in whole grain cereals where it varied from 468 g kg−1 in oats to 690 g kg−1 in maize, in cereal by-products (93–902 g kg−1) and in tapioca (768 g kg−1). In contrast, the concentration of starch was low in all protein concentrates but peas and faba beans. The lowest levels of NSP and lignin were found in maize flour (NSP, 21 g kg−1; lignin, 4 g kg−1) and the highest levels in oat hull meal (NSP, 503 g kg−1; lignin, 148 g kg−1). There was also a significant variation in NSP and lignin in protein concentrates with the NSP value varying from 189 g kg−1 in faba beans to 451 g kg−1 in white lupins and with lignin varying from 12 g kg−1 in white lupins to 133 g kg−1 in sunflower cake. Grass meal, alfalfa meal and sugar beet fibre had in general high concentrations of NSP and lignin with values in grass and alfalfa meals of NSP: 329–426 g kg−1 and lignin: 128–169 g kg−1 and in sugar beet fibre 779 g kg−1 and 35 g kg−1, respectively.[2]

Modern application of xanthophylls in animal feeding – a review

Most consumers associate colour of food with age and health status of animals and food quality in consequence. Xanthophylls are widely used as feed additives to generate products meeting consumers’ demands. Although a lot of xanthophylls with interesting biological properties are found in nature, only a few are actually of industrial importance as feed additives. Therefore, this paper reviews the application of xanthophylls in poultry farming and in aquaculture (trout and salmon), referring to natural (e.g. lutein from Tagetes erecta) as well as synthetic (e.g. canthaxanthin) xanthophylls. Additionally, an overview about the legal position in the European Union is given.[3]

Bioconversion of Sweet Potato Leaves to Animal Feed

Background: The high cost of conventional animal feed ingredients in Nigeria has made it necessary to search for alternative local sources of feed. Crop residues including sweet potato leaves abound in Nigeria. These have been explored as feed sources. The ability of microorganisms to convert agricultural wastes to more useful products could be harnessed to produce feed from sweet potato leaves which can be obtained in high abundance at low cost.

Aim: To examine the possibility of converting sweet potato leaves to animal feed through fermentation with a co-culture of Chaetomium globosum and Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Materials and Methods: Triplicate samples of sweet potato leaves were fermented with a co-culture of C. globosum and S. cerevisiae for 21 days at 25±2°C and the effects of fermentation on nutrient composition were determined. Fermentation and control samples were analysed for proximate, amino acids, and elemental contents.

Results: Crude protein, crude fat and ash contents increased by 97.5%, 265.3% and 12.3%, respectively, while crude fibre and nitrogen free extract values decreased by 22.7% and 61.4% respectively. Energy content increased by 14.5%. The observed changes in the values of these nutritional components were significant (P = 0.05). The percentage  dry matter values of all the amino acids analyzed (lysine, histidine, arginine, aspartic acid, threonine, glutamic acid, proline, glycine, alanine, cystine, valine, methionine, isoleucine, leucine tyrosine and phenylalanine) were found to increase, with the contents of seven of the amino acids increasing significantly. Calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium contents increased significantly while those of copper and iron decreased.

Conclusion: Fermentation of sweet potato leaves with a co-culture of C. globosum and S. cerevisiae enhanced the feed potential of the leaves. With mineral supplementation, energy enhancement, and further crude fibre reduction, fermented sweet potato leaves could serve as feed for some animals.[4]

Feed Intake, Growth Performance and Carcass Characteristics of West African Dwarf Sheep Fed Moringa oleifera, Gliricidia sepium or Cassava Fodder as Supplements to Panicum maximum

The performance and carcass characteristics of West African dwarf (WAD) sheep fed Panicum maximum supplemented with Moringa oleifera, Gliricidia sepium or cassava fodder, were investigated in a randomized complete block and completely randomized design experiments respectively. Twenty four growing WAD sheep (10.7 kg average live weight) were randomly allotted to four dietary treatments: 1: 100% P. maximum (control), 2: 75% P. maximum + 25% M. oleifera,    3: 75% P. maximum + 25% G. sepium, 4: 75% P. maximum + 25% Cassava leaves. Dry matter (DM) intake (g/kgW0.75/day) ranged between 74.6 for treatment 4 and 92.7 for treatment 3. Crude protein (CP) intake in treatment 3 was higher than in treatments 1 and 4. Growth rate ranged between 6.53 g/day to 12.74 g/day for treatments 1 and 4 respectively while treatments 2 and 4 had better feed conversion ratio than treatment 1. Average dressing percentage was 33.9% and there was no significant difference in the carcass characteristics among the various treatments. It was concluded that Moringa oleifera is a suitable alternative to Gliricidia sepium as supplement in small ruminant diets. [5]


[1] Gaggìa, F., Mattarelli, P. and Biavati, B., 2010. Probiotics and prebiotics in animal feeding for safe food production. International journal of food microbiology, 141, pp.S15-S28.

[2] Knudsen, K.E.B., 1997. Carbohydrate and lignin contents of plant materials used in animal feeding. Animal feed science and technology, 67(4), pp.319-338.

[3] Breithaupt, D.E., 2007. Modern application of xanthophylls in animal feeding–a review. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 18(10), pp.501-506.

[4] Onyimba, I.A., Ogbonna, A.I., Egbere, J.O., Njila, H.L. and Ogbonna, C.I.C., 2015. Bioconversion of sweet potato leaves to animal feed. Annual Research & Review in Biology, pp.1-6.

[5] Fadiyimu, A.A., Alokan, J.A., Fajemisin, A.N. and Onibi, G.E., 2016. Feed intake, growth performance and carcass characteristics of West African dwarf sheep fed Moringa oleifera, Gliricidia sepium or cassava fodder as supplements to Panicum maximum. Journal of Experimental Agriculture International, pp.1-10.

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