In 2019, DSM introduced a microbial "muramidase" – Balancius TM – on the market. The feed additive – which is, in fact, an enzyme – splits bacterial peptidoglycans into smaller components at the small intestine level, so that they cause fewer or no inflammatory reactions at the intestinal level. Two years after its introduction, many new trials have been carried out, including under practical conditions.
Peptidoglycans are mainly found in dead intestinal bacteria. These are abundant in the biomass that is located in the intestinal tract, particularly in the cell wall of dead gram-positive bacteria.
In case of dysbacteriosis, microbial life in the intestine is profoundly disrupted. Much new biomass is then formed as a result of extra cell divisions and dying off. This biomass mainly consists of fragments of bacterial cell walls, which, in turn, are rich in peptidoglycans. These not only result in waste of feed nutrients: they also place an extra burden on the metabolism because peptidoglycans also cause certain inflammatory reactions at the intestinal level.
Prof R Ducatelle (UGent) demonstrated last year that Balancius has a beneficial effect on intestinal wall integrity due to its anti-inflammatory effect. This also explains the improved nutrient absorption demonstrated in various studies.
New animal trials
In addition to the necessary registration trials, several (semi) practical trials have now taken place in various countries worldwide, including in North-Western Europe. In 2020, for example, six large-scale practical trials with Balancius on regular broilers were set up in Belgium, the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom. The dosages used were in line with the recommended dosages (25,000 – 35,000 LSU muramidase per kg of final feed).
Improved zootechnical performance confirmed
The addition of Balancius in these field trials consistently improved growth (+ 1 to 2%) and feed conversion (2 – 3 points gross). The Dutch field trial showed that the addition of Balancius led to a more gradual feed intake (less feed dip) and a lower water/feed ratio. In some of these field trials, a trend towards fewer footsole lesions was also noted.
Based on these results, the average feed profit increased by 2 cts per mounted chick.
One of the French trials also examined the effects on slaughter quality. The addition of Balancius was accompanied by a significant improvement in the slaughter yield (griller percentage), with numerically more breast meat and less fat in the carcass.
Balancius has now been EU registered for broilers, turkeys and rearing animals. The recommended dose is at least 35,000 LSU per kg final feed for young chicks (0 – 4 weeks) and 25,000 LSU/kg feed for older animals.