Gilson Gomes, head of global technical, AB Vista, told us:
“It was launched last year, the MMN concept is not about phytase only, it is about combining phytase with xylanase, gathering more information also on the energy content of feed, and trying to maximize the effect of both enzymes together,” he said.
The concept is said to improve nutrient utilization and enable a significant improvement in the utilization of amino acids, minerals and energy, resulting in feed cost savings and minimizing waste.
“Essentially, MMN is an amalgamation of all the information we have gathered in the past 10 years in terms of analyzing feed, of gaining greater understanding of the effects of enzymes, combined with insights into the anti-nutritive effects of phytate and non-starch polysaccharides (NSPs),” Gomes told us.
Validated in performance trials in broilers and swine, the company claims the application of its MMN concept can generate cost savings of up to £12 per ton, when compared to a conventional diet formulated to include a standard dosage level of enzymes. Furthermore, in sustainability studies it has run on MMN, it said it demonstrated a 3% reduction in the carbon footprint of broiler production.
Alternative to superdosing
The MMN approach emerged as an alternative to the company’s superdosing method, the practice involving the use of high doses of phytase to target phytate (IP6) destruction, which became commercially available in 2011, said Gomes.
“The challenge was that, in some regions, in Europe, for example, the superdosing concept was not adopted so readily, due largely to the fact that the structure of European animal production is different, or is less integrated than production in North America,” he said.
Not all members of the European animal production supply chain, such as feed manufacturers, could see the gains to be derived from superdosing, with higher investment required from the feed mills, explained Gomes. The savings accrued from superdosing are made through better performance of animals rather than through the formulation costs, he explained.
“Though, in some production segments in Europe, such as piglet nutrition, it was more widely embraced. Overall, we can say that the superdosing strategy was more successful in the Americas than it was in Europe,” said the technical lead.
Sparing of nutrients, fiber fermentation
Producers in Europe are looking for the same performance with cheaper feed and that is what MMN is focused on, according to AB Vista.
MMN allows greater sparing of nutrients through use of these enzymes that optimize digestibility, resulting in less fat required in rations, along with lower soybean meal inclusion levels, continued Gomes.
MMN is about increasing fiber fermentability in the pig or poultry gut as well, he said.
“Fiber is not well utilized by animals, what we can do is change the structure of the fiber in a way that the microbes inside the gut can attach and ferment it better.”
Xylanases release oligosaccharides, which are more easily fermented than polysaccharides, he said.
“Xylanase will help with the fiber fermentation, and, ultimately, the products of such fermentation help the animal; the microbes produce volatile fatty acids (VFAs). VFAs have benefits in terms of digestive physiology, etc.”
AB Vista will consult with industry, devising a bespoke feed formulation for feed millers or integrators based on the MMN concept and their needs, he added. “We can go to different dosage levels of the enzymes depending on the customer’s requirements.”
Trials on MMN got underway in 2017 and are still ongoing.
“There was a long, internal debate in terms of the trial design and development.
“Initially, we had to set up a proof of concept trial. AB Vista does not like to rely entirely on digestibility [as a key parameter in trials] simply because it believes a digestibility [focus tends to only give] a snapshot of what may be happening. We did run some digestibility trials, prior to 2017, to find out what the concept might mean for the breakdown of phytate, what would its impact be on amino acids, on energy levels, on improvement on digestibility, etc.
“Based on those, we decided to go for performance trials, running MMN through a whole cycle of animal production, in research institutions globally.”
For confidentiality reasons, he did not disclose the name of the institutions involved in trials, but he outlined the markets where the testing took place and the species involved. “In the US we trialed MMN in both broilers and pigs, while, in Brazil, we ran trials in layers. In Europe, the MMN trials were focused on broilers, layers and pigs, and it was tested in broilers in both Thailand and Australia.”
Carbon footprint reduction
Initially, AB Vista did not conceive of including a carbon footprint (CF) model to measure the environmental impact of MMN, he said.
However, its sister company, AB Sustain, has long been working with public and private companies to deliver CFs, and is accredited in that regard. Gomes said that, with sustainability being a hot topic in industry and nutrition seen as a way to reduce the environmental impact of animal production, it was later decided to leverage that in-house expertise to try to give its customers another reason, beyond cost savings, to go for the MMN concept.
“Using the AB Sustain CF model, we determined there was a reduction with the MMN concept.
“The model, among other aspects, evaluates the carbon inputs, the constituents of the diet itself; typically, the protein meals and the fats are the ones that have the highest carbon footprint. MMN, through sparing of nutrients, by reducing fat and soybean meal contents in the diet, ultimately lowers the carbon footprint. But this claim can only be made if the performance level of the animal is maintained.”