Good animal performance starts with a well-balanced and optimized diet which suits the animal needs. Once the diet is formulated it is of paramount importance to preserve the quality, efficacy, and performance of feed until the moment it is consumed by the animal. Deviations between the theoretical formulated diet and the one fed to the animal, have a vast impact on animal health and performance, profitability, safety, and sustainability.
Spoilage processes destruct valuable nutrients (energy, vitamins, proteins, …) and reduce the intestinal absorptive availability of several nutrients in the animal. In addition, degradation products are often unpalatable at very low concentrations. Therefore, feed/ingredients that are not well preserved, decrease the feed density and feed intake, which is detrimental for animal performance.
Not only can reaction products of deterioration be unpalatable, many are toxic to the animal. Well-known toxic reactive compounds are mycotoxins produced by moulds. Less known is that reaction products of fat and oil oxidation, like free radicals or aldehydes, can be cytotoxic and must be prevented. Furthermore, reducing bacterial pressure is critical, especially in the case of Salmonella contamination of feed or drinking water.
Loss of valuable nutrients impact animal performance or requires overdosing of certain feed ingredients sensitive to decay. In addition, contamination with foodborne pathogens (e.g. Salmonella) or mycotoxins (e.g. aflatoxins) can result in fines or other penalties.
Mold growth and spores reduce the air quality which effects animal and human health. Foodborne pathogens create safety concerns for the end consumer. And in extreme occasions, oxidation of highly sensitive materials causes spontaneous combustion (e.g. fish meal and fish oil).
Sustainability means improved and more efficient use of our resources: prevention of nutrient degradation is a vital pillar. The lower the nutrient loss, the higher the efficiency of feed and raw material usage and therefore more can be done with less.
Every step in the process of making feed is a chance for quality to degrade and animal performance to suffer. To maintain feed value, solutions are desired to preserve micro-/macro nutrients and maintain their feed value.
Preservation of feed and feed ingredients considers the following important steps:
During these steps, quality preservation demands to act on 3 levels: limit microbial load, maintain chemical stability, and optimize physical properties of raw materials and feeds.