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Peer reviewed work of interest

06 September 2019


A question put to us by some of our customers is why Huvepharma doesn’t include a sodium value in the Optiphos nutrient matrix, as many other manufacturers do?  Work conducted at Massey University in conjunction with the University of Sydney in 2008 (Ravindran et al., 2008) tested the effect of dietary electrolyte balance (DEB) on the efficacy of phytase and digestibility of nutrients, and in particular amino acids.  The work suggested that at a DEB of 184 mEq/kg was sufficient to allow a good response to phytase but reduced amino acid digestibility without phytase, whereas higher DEB values (below 374 mEq) allowed better intrinsic nutrient digestibility without phytase.  Phytase did not affect litter quality within each DEB tested.  Attribution of a Na value a phytase would serve to reduce the DEB value and thus negatively impact intrinsic nutrient digestibility, with no measurable effect on litter quality.  Results of this paper and others (such as Goodgame et al., 2011a and Goodgame et al., 2011b) suggest that there is no evidence to suggest that a Na value should be attributed to phytase. 


Across the food producing animal industries, there has been a steady focus on minimisation of antimicrobial use from within and outside of these industries.  A recent review of young pig gut health by Pluske et al. (2017) focussed on the importance of other management factors that influence gut health outcomes when transitioning from milk to feed. 

The authors provide some direction on what “gut health” means in animals with reference to the piglet, provide practical guidelines for management of young pig gut health and summarise that indices of good gut health could include: 1) effective digestion and absorption of food (and excretion of wastes), 2) a functional and protective gut barrier, 3) a stable and appropriate microbial population, 4) effective functioning of the gut immune system, 5) minimal activation/stimulation of stress/neural pathways, and 6) the absence of disease(s).  Further understanding what “gut health” is and how it can be monitored may allow improvements in mitigating factors which may denigrate gut health and reduce reliance on veterinary interventions to manage enteric disease.

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