Why the fuss about phytase in feed?

Published Tuesday, 1st June 2021

As one of the leading global feed additive suppliers, we are keen to ensure a greater understanding of feed ingredients. Here our experts answer some key questions about phytases and our Quantum Blue product: 

1. Why is including phytase in animal feed important?

Swine and poultry are limited in their ability to break down phytate – the primary source of phosphorus in most feeds – efficiently. The nutrients within and bound to phytate are therefore unavailable to the animal, reducing feed efficiency and increasing nutrient excretion, which is a waste of resources and bad for the environment. A phytase feed additive helps to break down the phytate and release those nutrients and reduce waste.  

2. How big a problem is phytate in the animal nutrition sector?

Phytate in animal feed can be extremely costly. For example, estimates suggest that wasting the nutritional power associated with phytate could be costing the global poultry and swine industries over (US) $1 billion every year¬. 

3. How does using a phytase enhance animal production?

Phytate levels varies within raw materials. If this is not accounted for in feed formulation, it leads to greater variation in dietary phytate content. AB Vista Feed Quality Service uses near infrared (NIR) technology to provide analysis of the phytate-P level in raw materials and finished feeds. This allows for application of the maximum dose of phytase dependent on dietary phytate-P level to provide the greatest financial return, whilst ensuring this is achieved without risking performance or causing welfare problems due to phosphorus deficiency.

4. Are all phytases the same?

Most swine and poultry producers (approximately 90%) use a phytase to improve feed efficiency and, in general, we are seeing a trend towards higher usage per tonne treated. However, the benefits of a phytase come from not only the dose applied but also from the use of a product that is optimised for phytate breakdown. When taken together, these qualities ensure that you can make every molecule matter.

Many phytases release phosphorus, but producers could be wasting 60% of the value within, and bound to, phytate by applying low levels of a sub-optimal phytase.

Our phytase – Quantum Blue – is specifically designed to unlock maximum value from phytate to release all the inherent nutrition from swine and poultry feed.

Quantum Blue is an enhanced E. coli phytase which goes further, primarily due to its high affinity for phytate. By breaking down phytate and lower phytate esters efficiently, Quantum Blue works with the animal to release inositol and the valuable nutrients that are impaired by or bound to phytate.

Inositol plays a key role in cell survival and growth, central nervous system development and function, bone structure and formation, metabolism and reproduction.

Unlike other phytases, Quantum Blue efficiently unlocks all six phosphorus molecules during digestion, releasing the inherent nutrition contained within feed. By maximising phytate breakdown, Quantum Blue liberates nutrients. These can then be used to increase animal performance, or for a feed cost reduction. Together, these crucial components help contribute to a sustainable farming industry.

5. How does Quantum Blue benefit swine and poultry producers?

Quantum Blue reduces the need for expensive ingredients by utilising every nutritional element of phytate offering performance benefits and/or cost savings.

Quantum Blue can be flexibly applied to achieve your production goals. It can enhance performance; by applying Quantum Blue at 1500 FTU/kg on top of a standard diet, you can increase animal performance four points feed conversion ratio (FCR) in broilers, post-weaning piglets and grower-finisher pigs. Quantum Blue is also proven to deliver consistent nutrient availability, maximising feed cost savings; 1000 FTU/kg applied with a full matrix has been shown to deliver up to $20/tonne cost savings3.

6. What are the characteristics of Quantum Blue?

Quantum Blue takes productivity to another level. It is non-coated, ensuring a more rapid release in the animal than a coated phytase. It works four times faster and has a high stability in the digestive tract. This facilitates passage through harsh conditions in the gut to reach the site of activity. It is active at the correct pH where phytate is soluble. This enables maximum enzyme productivity.


For more information, see our Quantum Blue product page.

Read more about Quantum Blue
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Online Feed Fibre Calculator

Calculate the percentage of dietary fibre in your feed

Our calculator is designed for nutritionists and uses averages of global raw materials to calculate the dietary fibre content (plus other more in-depth fibre parameters) of finished animal feed. These parameters are available within AB Vista’s Dietary Fibre analysis service (part of our NIR service).

Click here to access

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