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Use of Exogenous Feed Enzymes

Exogenous feed enzymes can be effective in improving the digestibility of nutrients and energy in feed ingredients, thereby lowering diet cost and the impact on the environment. For instance, phytase can be used effectively to increase phosphorus bioavailability from phytate-containing ingredients, such as corn grain and soybean meal, whereas carbohydrases, such as xylanase and beta-glucanase, can effectively increase the diet's energy digestibility.

However, the composition of the complete diet must be carefully considered to ensure that the exogenous enzymes have sufficient amounts of substrates to work on. For instance, the efficacy of phytase is greatest when all the phosphorus in the diet comes from phytate-containing ingredients. The available-phosphorus credit assigned to phytase should be higher in a diet containing corn and soybean meal than in a diet containing wheat, soybean meal, and meat and bone meal. Failure to consider the phytate content of the complete diet when assigning an available-phosphorus credit to the phytase product may lead to phosphorus deficiencies, resulting in poor egg production, osteomalacia, and gout. Similarly, failure to consider the xylan or beta-glucan content of the complete diet when assigning energy credits to a carbohydrase product may lead to insufficient energy consumption, resulting in reduced growth, egg production, and egg weight.

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