One of the main issues in swine husbandry is efficient and sustainable animal production. Several factors such as raw material prices and increasing worldwide competition force farmers to optimize their production cycles. Animal health is an important parameter for efficient production and is mainly determined by gut health. A healthy well-developed gut is needed for efficient nutrient uptake to achieve sufficient growth and efficient FCR. Also, the intestines are the body’s first immune defense barrier and therefore play an important role in the animal’s resilience to invading pathogens.
Effective source of energy
However, due to a variety of stress factors such as pathogenic load, change of feed and social groups, especially in young animals the gut might be underdeveloped resulting in decreased digestion and immunity. It is known that butyric acid is an effective energy source for the epithelium cells. Butyric acid increases the length of the villi and the small intestine and thus butyric acid increases the absorption surface for in-feed nutrients. However, butyric acid has a strong smell and is corrosive, making handling unpleasant. Current coating techniques are not able to fully overcome the problem of smell, and show insufficient target delivery.
Therefore, alternative forms of butyric acid type products are needed to stimulate gut development.