In 2019, DSM launched a microbial muramidase - Balancius® - on the market. The feed additive - which is actually an enzyme - splits bacterial peptidoglycans into smaller components at small intestinal level, so that they cause fewer or no inflammatory reactions at intestinal level. Two years after its introduction, research is still being conducted using this innovative enzyme. For example, a trial was recently performed in slow-growing broilers. The application of 35 000 LSU per kg of finisher feed in the start and growth phase and 25 000 LSU in the fattening phase also resulted in improved zootechnical performance and slaughter yields in slow-growing broilers.
Balancius® contains the enzyme muramidase which hydrolyses pro-inflammatory peptidoglycans, reduces inflammatory reactions at intestinal level and improves intestinal integrity. These effects yield an improvement in nutrient utilisation, which ultimately results in better growth and boosts the feed conversion ratio. Multiple (field) trials have also revealed a positive effect on slaughter yield. However, until now these trials were only conducted with standard breeds (in particular Ross 308 and Cobb 500). Last summer, DSM conducted a trial with slow-growing broilers at PRIC Emmen (NL), to examine the effect of Balancius® with different feed types.
Influenced by pressure from Dutch supermarket chains in particular, there is a (strong) growing demand for slow-growing broilers with the 1 Star Better Life quality label. In the intervening period, a lot of practical experience has been gained. However, data monitored by the Dutch Animal Health Service (GD, 2020) shows that the intestinal health of these broilers can still experience pressure: the incidence of coccidiosis seems to be even higher, partly due to the longer rearing cycle. Increased coccidiosis pressure often manifests at flock level as a lower feed intake, poor growth and higher feed conversion in both standard and slow-growing breeds (Sakkas et al, 2018).
The trial in Emmen was conducted with 1008 Hubbard JA 757 male birds divided randomly into 48 floor pens with six dietary treatments. The 3 X 2 trial design consisted of a control treatement, a low soy treatment (up to 10% rapeseed meal and sunflower seed meal in the fattener feed) and a low soy, low OE treatment (-/- 50 kcal OE vlk in grower and fattener feed). Some treatments were combined with Balancius® (35 000 LSU in starter and grower feeds and 25 000 LSU in fattener feed).
The trial feeds were provided in a 4-stage feeding programme with wheat-soybean-maize-based feeds, largely based on Hubbard advisory standards. All feeds contained enzymes and were provided unrestricted. All the broilers were vaccinated against coccidiosis on day one (Evant, Hippra). The zootechnical results per floor pen were determined during the periods 1-14 days, 15-25 days, 26-35 days, 36-56 days and the entire period. On day 56, foot sole lesions were scored for all broilers per floor pen. The slaughter yields of all broilers per treatment (eight floor pens) were also determined (by Pluimveeverwerking Gebr. Heijs).
The addition of Balancius® resulted in a significant improvement in growth (+1.5%) and feed conversion (-/- 0.02), regardless of feed type (no significant interaction). These effects were most noticeable in the period between 25 and 35 days.
Broilers fed feeds with less soy performed as well as the broilers with the control treatment. The OE reduction had a (significant) adverse effect on feed conversion (-/- 0.02). No difference in litter quality or incidence of foot sole lesions was found between the treatments. Slaughter yields and fillet percentages improved by almost 1 and 2.5%, respectively, thanks to the use of Balancius®!
This extensive trial demonstrates that Balancius® also has a clear effect on the zootechnical performance and slaughter yields of slow-growing broilers. The recommended dose is at least 35 000 LSU per kg of finisher feed for young broilers (standard 0-4 weeks; slow-growing 0-5 weeks); for older birds, the recommended dose is 25 000 LSU per kg of finisher feed.
For more information, please contact your account manager or one of our poultry nutritionists.