Use of antioxidant in feed helps to improve egg quality
Oxidation is defined as the loss of electrons. A substance which will accept electrons is called an "oxidizing agent". The most common oxidizing agent under normal conditions is oxygen present in the air. It corrodes metals to oxides (which gives rust) and converts organic materials to carbon dioxide during both combustion and metabolic processes.
In feed we have to face more subtle, but also omnipresent, chemical reactions where electrons are transferred to oxygen from the double bonds found in fats, oils and vitamins. These fragile compounds need little energy to initiate the reaction. Then, after the process is initiated, the so-called free radicals will react to form new free radicals. Therefore oxidation is a self propelling chain reaction, which happens naturally during the processing stages and/or during storage. After oxidation fats are called rancid. Rancid fats have an unpleasant odour, which affects the palatability of the feed. But the main result of oxidation is the loss of valuable essential fatty acids. Also, the presence of extremely reactive free radicals in feed results in damage of vitamins (A, D, E biotin), pigments, as well as sulphur amino acids and other ingredients. Finally, digestible energy value of feeds containing rancid fats is reduced, which affects animal performance.
Oxidation of feed can be prevented by adding antioxidants, which serve as electron donors and will stabilize the free radicals. They can be combined with sequestrants of metallic ions, such as citric or orthophosphric acids, which will prevent the so-called initiation phase of auto-oxidation (first step of the reaction).
It is logical to protect the feed stocks against losses due to oxidation before the oxidation process actually starts. Indeed when the reaction is taking place, it is very difficult to stop it. Also, oxidation reactions are not reversible and the losses they create cannot be recovered.
Therefore, antioxidants and sequestrants should be added to the fat, the vitamin premix and/or the finished feed as soon as possible.
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Article made possible through the contribution of Impextraco