Phytogenics represent a promising category of naturally derived growth promoters originating from herbs and spices. Many phytogenic agents are well known from human nutrition, where they have a long tradition in the flavouring of foods. It is, however, not only their flavouring properties, but also a number of biological activities, which make phytogenics an encouraging approach in animal nutrition.
Trials conducted at different universities and research institutes in Europe and in the US have shown considerable positive effects of phytogenics on growth performance. Significant improvements in feed conversion have been obtained, also in comparison to antibiotic growth promoters. As a consequence of ongoing research, phytogenics are regarded as effective performance enhancers, especially in antibiotic-free feeding systems.
The swine production sector is facing several challenges. The removal of antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs), for example, has put additional pressure on European swine producers. Consequently, the implementation of sound hygienic farm conditions and elaborate feeding concepts are corner stones of sustainability and profitability in modern swine production. The need for optimal feed efficiency, in terms of feed conversion ratios, becomes even more evident in present times of rising prices for feed ingredients.
Growing concern about AGPs in animal nutrition has created efforts to use different alternative growth-promoting agents in swine nutrition. Among potential candidates, phytogenics represent a new and exciting group of feed additives, originating principally from herbs, spices or other plants. An improvement in feed conversion ratio has been observed in recent trials conducted at different universities and research institutes in Europe and in the US.
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Article made possible through the contribution of Biomin.