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Powerful phytogenics under practical evaluation in sows and piglets
Tobias Steiner, Biomin



Biomin's phytogenic feed additive (Biomin® P.E.P.) has been developed to optimize digestive processes and to improve growth performance in different categories of livestock. The phytogenic additive is based on a combination of essential oils from oregano, anis and citrus peels in combination with FOS.


Two field trials were conducted on a commercial farm in north-western France (Brittany) to assess the impact of a specific blend of essential oils and FOS (Biomin® P.E.P. 1000) on reproductive parameters, growth performance and economics in sows and piglets.


Supplementation of the diets with the phytogenic additive increased litter weight and individual body weight (BW) of piglets at weaning by 6.5 and 0.4 kg, respectively. Moreover, the number of weaned piglets per litter was slightly higher when the phytogenic additive was included in the diets (11.2 vs. 10.9 kg).


Addition of the phytogenic additive to the diets of sows increased feed costs. However, an additional margin resulting from increased performance of piglets produced considerable economic benefits, as indicated by a high return on investment amounting to 11:1.


In piglets, addition of the phytogenic blend to the diets improved overall average daily gain (ADG) and feed conversion rate (FCR) by 5 and 6 percent, respectively (Figures 1 and 2).


The highest reduction (8 percent) in FCR was obtained during the nursery period, whereas the increment in ADG was highest in magnitude (6 percent) during the post-weaning period, indicating the beneficial impact of phytogenic supplementation on digestive processes in the early stages of life.


Addition of Biomin® P.E.P. to the diets increased feed costs by 3 and 4 percent, respectively, in phase 1 and 2, resulting in an increase in overall feed costs per piglets by 2 percent. Based on actual market prices for feedstuffs and pigs, the return on investment resulting from the use of Biomin® P.E.P. in piglets amounted to 15:1 under the practical conditions of the present experiment.


The use of herbs and spices has a long tradition in the flavoring of human foods. Moreover, due to their antioxidative, antimicrobial, fungicidal and physiological activities, phytogenic compounds have found their application in human medicine and in food preservation since ancient times. In animal nutrition, the use of phytogenics is a relatively new approach to promote overall health and growth performance. In particular, essential oils represent a source of highly concentrated active ingredients.


Highly replicable results have been obtained with Biomins phytogenic blend based on a unique combination of essential oils and FOS. The mode of action of phytogenics is usually rather diverse and intensive research has been focused on identification of active ingredients which may have beneficial effects on gut health and performance. In practice, additives with a multifunctional mode of action are favorable since the status of health and performance of the animal is usually affected by a large number of different factors. Feeding the animal always implies feeding and managing its gut microflora. Thus, the key strategy is to support a beneficial gut microflora at the expense of pathogenic bacteria.



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