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Many end-users have adopted the practice of superdosing, using higher phytase doses (1500 FTU/kg or greater) in feed to achieve great than 90% total phytate (IP6) breakdown and thus reduce the anti-nutritional effects in pigs and poultry. This has proven to give additional animal performance benefits beyond standard phytases doses.
Despite this, confusion still exists as to what superdosing is and how this should be defined. Superdosing can be explained as feeding enough of an effective phytase to prevent the build-up of lower phytate esters such as IP3 and IP4 in the gut of the animal.
Research has shown that it is not just phytate that has anti-nutritive effects; the breakdown products of phytate - IP5, IP4 and IP3 – can also have an anti-nutritive effect in the animal. These lower phytate esters have been shown to correlate with poor digestion of protein, energy and minerals, indicating that they have an anti-nutritive effect in the animal. The key point is that, with standard phytase dosing, one anti-nutrient may be degraded and simply replaced with another.
Phytases are enzymes which effectively breakdown IP5, IP4, and IP3 as well as IP6. It is essential that phytases not only release the P required, but that they also eliminate all inhibitors of digestion, and enable the animal to grow more efficiently. Hence the value in superdosing phytase.
New research has more precisely identified where the performance benefits of phytase superdosing are really coming from. This also sheds light on differences between commercial phytases, which differ significantly in their ability to break down phytate and the lower esters IP5, IP4, IP3, even when fed at high levels.
For animal producers to see a greater return from their phytase programme, an effective phytase should be selected, such as Quantum Blue which, when applied at superdosed levels, can break down IP6 and continue to destroy the anti-nutritive lower phytate esters, even at low concentrations of phytate.
Choosing a phytase simply by determining how much phosphorus it releases does not give the full picture. Scientific data now allows us to better understand exactly what effect phytases have in the gut, and thus maximize the performance benefits that can be made through effective superdosing.