Multi-carbohydrase feed technology represents the leading edge

Swine producers have better choices than ever before when it comes to feed additives. One of the most promising areas of advancement is feed enzymes. This technology is proven to get more value out of feed and support everything from higher profits to a reduced environmental footprint.

One of the pioneers and foremost companies developing feed enzymes technology over the past three decades is Canadian Bio-Systems Inc. (CBS Inc.), an innovation-focused company that researches, develops and manufactures a wide range of bio-based products used in feed, food and industrial applications. CBS Inc. and its research partners, such as the University of Manitoba, have won several prestigious awards over the years for bringing new knowledge and innovations in feed enzyme technology to the marketplace.

Rob Patterson is the Technical Director of CBS Inc. With Patterson providing insights, here’s a recap of what enzymes offer, how this technology has evolved and what swine producers can expect from the latest advances.

The role of enzymes

The purpose of feed for livestock is simple – to deliver energy, protein, and other nutrients to the animals to support their growth, health and overall performance. But not all of what is ingested by animals actually gets used for this purpose. A significant portion of feed includes components such as non-starch polysaccharides (NSPs),that are either hard to digest or impossible to digest and end up passing through the animal unused.

Enzymes are nature’s answer to this problem. They are natural biological components whose job in digestion is to help break down feed into smaller, more digestible components. Specific enzymes can be identified and developed to break down specific NSPs releasing energy and other nutrients into forms that livestock can use. “By using the right type of enzyme for the type of feed, producers can get a lot more energy and nutrients from the feed source that is actually absorbed by the animal and used to support health and performance,” says Patterson.

Expanding options

Arguably the greatest enzyme success story to date has been phytase, which targets phytic acid (known as phytate). The phytic acid in plant material is essentially indigestible for monogastrics such as swine. However, phytase addresses this by causing the hydrolysis (i.e. breakdown) of phytate, which liberates phosphorus, calcium and other nutrients, thereby increasing their absorption. This allows nutritionists to reduce the inclusion of inorganic or synthetic sources of these nutrients, resulting in financial savings for the operation.

Over the years, feed enzyme technology has advanced not only for phytase products, but also for a number of other enzyme formulations with different activities and targets. Today this includes, for example, various forms of xylanase that target xylans, cellulase for targeting cellulose and beta-glucanase that targets beta-glucans.

The rise of Multi-Carbohydrase technology

The ongoing progress with feed enzyme development has given rise to the concept of ‘multiples’ – enzyme products that include more than one type of enzyme blended together within the same formulation. The benefit of this approach is the ability to address a greater number of NSPs with the ease of use of a single product.

Taking the concept of multiples a step further today is a “Multi-Carbohydrase” approach. This involves using multiple enzymes, each with multiple activities. Think of this as an “extra-strength” use of multiples, backed by robust science to maximize the complementary nature of the elements in the blend, says Patterson.

“When we look at developing a Multi-Carbohydrase enzyme strategy for a particular livestock species, the process starts with looking at the diet," says Patterson. "From this we can identify what are the NSPs we need to target and then develop a formulation that can address all of those at once. The aim is to achieve a total breakdown, to get producers the most value possible out of their feed."

For example, a typical corn/soybean meal based diet for swine may contain about 6% NSPs. Of this 6%, xylan and arabinoxylan would comprise the greatest portion at around 43%, followed by cellulose and beta-glucans at 35%, pectins at 8%, mannans at 4% and various other NSP components making up the remaining 10%. If the approach is to use a single enzyme, a formulation with xylanase is the obvious choice for this type of diet. However, even if the product used is the best of its kind and addresses 100% of the xylans and arabinoxylans, there is still 57% of NSPs not addressed. The best Multi-Carbohydrase options can achieve a total breakdown addressing 100% of the NSP present in the diet.

“This can make a big difference for a swine operation,”says Patterson. “It’s important to get the best formulations because not all products are the same quality with the same level of research backing them up. But with the right options there are very strong benefits.”

Research supporting the benefits of Multi-Carbohydrase has included numerous key studies directed by CBS Inc. research partner the University of Manitoba. This research received the Synergy Award for Innovation from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada as well as the National Research Council Award for Innovation in Industrial Research

Integrated strategies get most value

Multi-Carbohydrase feed technology is just one example of several top areas of bio-based feed technology that are opening new ways to boost profits for swine producers. To get the most value, producers can work with CBS Inc. to determine the best package of options that is precision tailored to get the most benefit for their production system.

The company offers a range of options under five CBS Inc. Feed Science Platforms. In addition to Multi-Carbohydrase technology, the FSPs also include enhanced yeast technology, grain management technology, functional fatty acids, and phytogenics and probiotics. The new system CBS Inc. has introduced for determining the best package is called “What’s Your FSP Fingerprint?” – involving custom analysis and strategies for each farm.

“By integrating Multi-Carbohydrase technology with other FSPs swine producerscan achieve even higher benefits and value,” says Patterson. The What’s Your FSP? approach makes it simple to identify the best combination for every farm.”

More information of CBS Inc. Feed Science Platforms is available at and additional CBS Inc. information is available