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Effect of postbiotics INGUBAL Liquid Granja® and INGUBAL Ruminant® in fattening lambs.
Efecto de postbióticos en cebo de corderos

The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of two postbiotics (P) on production indexes and different health parameters in fattening Merino lambs, compared to conventional feed or control (T): in solid format and supplied via feed (Pp) and in liquid format and supplied through the drinking water (Pa).

In recent decades, there has been a significant intensification of livestock production in response to the increase in world population and, therefore, to the increase in demand for animal products. This intensification of animal husbandry is considered to have contributed to the spread of antimicrobial resistance and the emergence of zoonotic pathogens (Alexandratos and Bruinsma, 2012).

Currently, the scientific community is looking for alternatives to improve the productive indicators of animals and, above all, their health, in order to guarantee human health as the ultimate goal under the One Health concept. In this sense, the use of functional additives in animal nutrition is considered one of the main options to improve production rates, prevent the occurrence of diseases and respect animal welfare (Bajagai et al., 2016).

Postbiotics are innovative products, recently defined and accepted by the scientific community, containing the bioactive metabolic by-products as well as bacterial structural components in a final preparation obtained from controlled microbial fermentation (Aguilar-Toalá et al., 2018; Wegh et al., 2019).

The use of postbiotics is a novel strategy that has recently been proposed to improve both animal health and productive performance, but they have been poorly investigated in in vivo studies to date, especially in ruminants.

 

MATERIAL AND METHODS

Animals

For this study, 108 Merino lambs of 22.8±0.6 kg mean live weight, 64.9±1.0 days old, were used at the start of intensive fattening, after adaptation to weaning and transition from starter feed given from 20 days of age to weaning at 55 days.

The animals were distributed in 3 groups of 36 animals each, 19 males and 17 females, and were housed for 28 days of intensive fattening in pens of the experimental feedlot of the La Orden farm (Cicytex), suitable for controlling the intake of both concentrate and water (Image 1).

Detail of the three experimental groups of lambs.Image 1. Detail of the three experimental groups of lambs.

Each group of animals received ad libitum both cereal straw and a common commercially available granulated compound feed (106 CFU, 16.5% PB, 6.7 PDIA, 11.8% PDIN, 12.2% PDIE, 4.7%GB, 5.0%FB, 14.0% FND, 6.5% FAD) as the basal diet of the three types of experimental diets. The feeding of the three groups is described in Table 1.

Table 1. Composition of the experimental fattening diets.Table 1. Composition of experimental fattening diets.

Production rates

For the calculation of the average daily gain (ADG), the individual weights of the lambs were methodologically calculated using electronic scales at the beginning and end of the fattening study. On the other hand, in order to calculate the feed conversion ratio, the amount of feed consumed by each group of horses was quantified to obtain the average daily feed consumption per group.

 

Health indices

Comparison between the different groups of different blood and biochemical parameters was carried out by performing hemogram and blood biochemistry. For this purpose, 12 lambs were selected from each group. These lambs were all males and were homogeneous within and between groups for the variables, age, weight and growth rate during lactation.

Whole blood and serum samples were obtained by jugular vein puncture and collected in tubes with EDTA for hematological analysis and in tubes with coagulation activator for the determination of biochemical parameters (Figure 2). Samples were transported at 4 °C and kept refrigerated until processing in the laboratory, where serum was obtained by centrifugation at 3000 rpm.

Detail of blood sampling of lambs.Image 2. Detail of blood sampling of lambs.

Complete blood counts were performed using a hematology analyzer (Celltac α MEK-6550, Nihon Kohden) to determine the parameters of the red series, which includes red blood cell count, hemoglobin, hematocrit, mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC); the white series, which includes leukocyte count and percentage of lymphocytes, neutrophils, monocytes and eosinophils; and the platelet series.

In addition, a complete biochemical profile was performed using an automatic clinical chemistry analyzer (Biosystem A15) to determine the protein profile, i.e. total protein and albumin; liver profile, including alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) enzymes and bilirubin; renal profile, including creatinine and urea; and other general profile parameters such as alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH).

 

Statistical analysis

For the statistical treatment of the individual data obtained, the Statgraphics Centurion XVI p GLM simple program was used to establish the effect of diet on the parameters studied. When the effect was significant, a comparison of means was performed using Tukey’s test. Differences were considered significant atP<0.05.

 

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Productivity indexes and economic estimates

The groups of lambs were balanced at weaning, i.e., they were homogeneous at the beginning of the fattening trial, for weight (Pd) and age (Ed) at weaning, and growth rate during lactation (from birth to weaning, G0-d), showing no significant differences between the experimental groups for the values of these three variables (Table 2).

Table 2. Values of variables at the beginning of fattening.Table 2. Values of bait initiation variables.

The values observed during fattening (Table 3) of the zootechnical variables: final or slaughter weight (Pf), final age (Ef), daily weight gain in fattening (from weaning to slaughter, Gd-f), daily feed intake in fattening, Cd-f) and feed conversion index (FI); and economic or replacement cost of kg of weight gain in fattening (CR), show the effects of the cause of variation considered, i.e. the supplementation of the diet with postbiotics. INGUBALRuminant® and INGUBAL LiquidGranja® and the delivery route of these postbiotics during lamb fattening.

Table 3. Values of end of fattening variables.Table 3. Values of end of fattening variables.

The zootechnical variables show significant differences (p<0.05) of the diets with postbiotics with respect to the control feed (T), especially in the Pa diet with a 23% improvement in weight gain (Gd-f), and somewhat lower in Pp (15%). Numerically, consumption is very similar among the three diets studied.

Therefore, the conversion rate of these experimental diets is considered numerically different, with a reduction or improvement, with respect to the control or conventional diet (T), of -19% and -13% respectively for the diets with Pa and Pb postbiotics, this indicator concretizing the metabolic potential of postbiotic utilization (Bravo et al., 2021).

As for the numerical valuation of the replacement cost (RC) of one kg of weight gain in fattening, it is estimated assuming a price of 0.619 €/kg concentrate and 10 €/kg of 18/liter of INGUBAL LiquidGranja®, and finding in the experimental group Pa a consumption of 2.52 liters of INGUBAL LiquidGranja® and 930.6 kg of basal feed. The CR thus calculated follows the trend of numerical difference, with a reduction in cost with respect to the control diet (T) of -13% and -10% respectively for the diets with postbiotic INGUBAL LiquidGranja® and INGUBALRuminant®.

 

Sanitary Indices

The 12 lambs selected as controls within each group are male and homogeneous within and between groups for the same zootechnical variables considered at weaning or at the beginning of the fattening study (Table 4).

Table 4. Values of variables at the beginning of fattening, control lambs.Table 4. Values of variables at the beginning of fattening, control lambs.

The zootechnical values of the final fattening variables for these control animals are in the same line of intergroup differences as those of the groups to which they belong (Table 5).

Table 5. Values of end of fattening variables, control lambs.Table 5. Values of end-of-fattening variables, control lambs.

In these control animals, the hematological parameters were within normal ranges for the species in the three experimental groups, both at the beginning and at the end of the fattening period, with the exception of the number of leukocytes, which were increased in the Pp and Pa groups at the beginning of the fattening period. The following tables (Tables 6 and 7) show the mean values for each hematic parameter in the animals of the different feeding groups at the beginning and end of the experiment.

Table 6. Mean values of hematological parameters at the beginning of fattening, control lambs.Table 6. Mean values of blood parameters at the beginning of fattening, control lambs.

Table 7. Mean values of hematic parameters at the end of fattening, control lambs.Table 7. Mean values of hematic parameters at the end of fattening, control lambs.

Regarding biochemical parameters, most of the values were found to be within the reference ranges for the species at the beginning and at the end of the baiting. Except for ALT and LDH at the beginning and end of fattening and Urea at the end of fattening, whose values were homogeneously increased in the three groups.

The following tables (Tables 8 and 9) show the mean values for each blood biochemical parameter in the animals of the different feeding groups at the beginning and end of the experiment.

Mean values of biochemical parameters at the beginning of fattening, control lambs.Table 8. Mean values of biochemical parameters at the beginning of fattening, control lambs.

Table 9. Mean values of biochemical parameters at the end of fattening, control lambs.Table 9. Mean values of biochemical parameters at the end of fattening, control lambs.

The high ALT and urea values in the three groups could be linked to a possible excess of protein in the basal diet received by the three groups of animals. On the other hand, high LDH values would be linked to tissue damage and could be related to the rearing conditions in the feedlot.

 

CONCLUSIONS

  • The conversion rates of the two Ingubal groups are significantly lower than those of the control group: INGUBAL LíquidGranja® 19% less than the control and INGUBALRuminant® 13%.
  • The average daily gains of the two Ingubal groups are higher than those of the control group: INGUBAL LíquidSolution® 23% higher than the control and INGUBALRuminant® 15%.
  • From an economic point of view, the replacement cost per kg of weight gain is reduced by 13% for INGUBAL LíquidGranja® and 10% for INGUBALRuminant®. This is because the INGUBAL LíquidGranja® lambs have laid 1.7 kg/lamb. INGUBALRuminant® has put 1.1 kg/lamb.
  • This economic valuation is derived assuming a price of €3.6/kg lamb, the profit derived from the application of the products was €6.1/lamb for INGUBAL LíquidGranja® and €4.0/lamb for INGUBALRuminant®.
  • In the experiment, 1.93 kg of INGUBALRuminant® were used in 967 kg of feed. This was the amount consumed by the 36 animals during 28 days. Since the weight gain, with respect to the control, was 1.1 kg/lamb, we can assume that the 1.93 kg of INGUBALRuminant® had a positive impact of 39.6 kg (the sum of the weight gains of the 36 lambs in the experiment).
  • The economic impact of this 39.6 kg increase is 142.56 euros. Taking into account the cost of €10/kg of INGUBALRuminant®, the return on each euro of product invested was €7.38.
  • Regarding INGUBAL LíquidGranja®, each lamb has taken 2.5 ml/day. Then, each lamb has ingested 70 ml in the 28 days, being the total consumption of the 36 lambs of the experience 2,520 ml. The increase in kilograms of production was 1.7 kg/lamb. That is, 61.2 kg of lambs, taking into account the 36 lambs, with an economic impact of 220.3 euros.
  • Considering a cost of 18 €/liter of INGUBAL LíquidGranja®, the return on each euro of product invested was 4.86 euros.

From the health point of view, there are no significant differences between groups because there have been no problems in any of the groups. All animals have been within normal parameters, indicating the safety of the supplements used.

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Work carried out within the project Alternatives to the use of antibiotics in different productive phases of extensive livestock species, as preventive against bacterial and parasitic diseases: economic and health impact on the welfare of these livestock (ALTEBIOTICO)’, funded by the call for Strategic Sectoral Projects of Cicytex 2021-2022.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES

    • Aguilar-Toala, J., Garcia-Varela, R., Garcia, H., Mata-Haro, V., Gonzalez-Cordova, A., Vallejo-Cordoba, B., and Hernandez-Mendoza, A. (2018). Postbiotics: An evolving term within the functional foods field. Trends in Food Science and Technology, 75, 105-114.
    • Alexandratos, N., and Bruinsma, J. (2012). World agriculture towards 2030/2050: The 2012 revision. EFSA Working paper No. 12-03. Rome, FAO.
    • Bajagai, Y. S., Klieve, A. V., Dart, P. J., and Bryden, W. L. (2016). Probiotics in animal nutrition: Production, impact and regulation. FAO.
    • Bravo, M., Risco, D., García-Jiménez, W.L., Gonçalves, P., Montero, M.J., Martínez, C., Blanco, J., Arenas, V., Cerrato, R. and Fernández-Llario, P. (2021). Probiotics or postbiotics? Alternatives to antibiotics in livestock farming. Livestock, (134), 46-50.
    • Wegh, C. A., Geerlings, S. Y., Knol, J., Roeselers, G., and Belzer, C. (2019). Postbiotics and Their Potential Applications in Early Life Nutrition and Beyond. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 20(19), 4673.

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This study has been carried out by INGULADOS in collaboration with CICYTEX. It is published in the magazine Tierras Ovino, Nº. 39, 2022, pp. 50-56.

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