Agrivida gains GRAS status for unique phytase for swine

Company seeks swine producers to run commercial trials.

December 5, 2019

3 Min Read
Agrivida Grainzyme truck2.jpg
A hopper-bottom truck in Nebraska is loaded with ground Grainzyme Phytase corn, in preparation for bulk delivery to poultry operations in North Carolina.Agrivida

Agrivida, a privately held biotechnology company, announced the availability of its Grainzyme Phytase enzyme feed additive for use in swine operations following receipt of "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) status from the Food & Drug Administration.

Already used commercially in more than 50 million chickens, the corn-based enzyme offers a more convenient, nutritious and sustainable phytase than previously available, Agrivida said. Due to its high enzyme concentration, only 2-4 lb. of ground Grainzyme corn is needed per ton of feed to deliver "super-dosed" levels of phytase in animal feeds, the company added, explaining that since the phytase is embedded in corn, nutrient credits are also provided, thus saving "nutrient space" in the ration.

"After the results of Grainzyme Phytase in commercial poultry operations, achieving GRAS status in swine now allows us to continue to implement our strategic plans," Agrivida interim chief executive officer Rajiv Singh said. "Our next steps include pelleting trials, animal performance studies comparing Grainzyme Phytase to traditional phytases and trials using varying doses of phytase together with diets of differing nutritional specifications to determine optimum performance."

Commercial evaluation. The company also announced that The Maschhoffs will be one of the first swine operations to evaluate the product commercially.

"Super-dosing is a very interesting topic," said Dr. Bradley Wolter, president and CEO of The Maschhoffs, who also serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois. "That's the big advantage that Grainzyme offers and why we're bullish on the technology and have invested in Agrivida. We ... think it may deliver the enzyme to the hind gut. This will be exciting to assess."

Agrivida said it will now conduct research at scale in thousands of pigs from the grower through finisher stages, which will also help determine the optimum phytase dosing throughout the swine life cycle.

Due to their immature digestive systems, young pigs particularly benefit from feed enzyme supplementation, the company said. For example, three feeding studies with weaned piglets and young growing pigs published earlier this year in the Journal of Animal Science demonstrated that the enzyme-imbedded corn provided improvements in growth performance, digestibility of calcium and phosphorous and bone parameters. As an added bonus, swine producers should also benefit from a more sustainable environmental footprint.

"We welcome additional swine producers to participate using Grainzyme Phytase in their commercial operations," said Dr. Michael Lanahan, chief commercial officer at Agrivida and one of the scientists involved in its development.

Swine operators interested in conducting trials with the product at scale can contact Agrivida via the website contact form at

Commercial broiler operations

In November, Agrivida announced results from its enzyme-imbedded corn used at the recommended dose of 4 lb. per ton of feed in commercial poultry operations. Consistent with earlier studies, the performance results from more than 50 million broiler chickens demonstrated that the proprietary, patented enzyme improved nutrition, feed conversion and animal performance, Agrivida said in a separate announcement.

According to the company, improved metrics from commercial broiler operations were noted in multiple areas, including weight-adjusted feed conversion ratio of five to seven points and overall bodyweight gains of 3-4%, as well as higher processing yields.

"The performance data in commercial poultry operations were exceptional," Lanahan said. "We believe the unique corn delivery platform may act as a slow-release system, allowing the phytase to be released more slowly in the gastrointestinal tract, providing a greater benefit from the enzyme than is possible with alternatively formulated phytases."

The corn matrix also provides protection for the enzyme, allowing it to maintain efficacy and high enzyme activity (thermal stability) even after exposure to the steam and high temperatures used in the feed pelleting process, Agrivida said.

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