Australian firm takes on challenge of heat stress in broilers

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/AndSim
© GettyImages/AndSim
Following positive results in young pigs and broilers in relation to feed efficiency, Australian drug delivery company, Phosphagenics, said its TPM, a vitamin E-derived feed additive, has shown additional benefits for birds experiencing heat stress.

Tocopheryl Phosphate Mixture (TPM) is a proprietary product composed of two different forms of phosphorylated vitamin E: TP or alpha-tocopheryl phosphate and T2P or di-alpha-tocopheryl phosphate. It is designed to maximize the utilization of supplements and feeds by enhancing the solubility and absorption of poorly soluble nutrients.

The firm said its latest study, conducted in broilers at a research facility in Australia, investigated the potential positive impact of TPM enhanced feed on bird growth during heat stress. It said the trial confirmed that heat stress does significantly reduce broiler growth rate by 3-5% and when TPM is added to broiler feed at 10ppm, it can negate the impact of stress induced decreased performance.

The Australian company’s R&D program also includes a study evaluating the potential benefits of TPM in dairy cattle – that trial has immunity, milk quality and fertility as the assessment end points. It is nearing completion. “Headline results are expected before the end of the year.”

Ross Murdoch, CEO of Phosphagenics, speaking to us last year, indicated his hope then that the additive could have broader application in multiple livestock markets.

“Pending positive results in these species, applications to broader livestock markets - including small and large ruminants such as goat, sheep and beef cattle - are all possible, with the same principles being applied to benefit nutrient/feed uptake.”

Last week the company said its discussions with key potential partners have highlighted poultry as a key species of interest. “This trial further reinforces our previous strong data and adds a new driver ​for TPM’s inclusion in the lucrative poultry feed market.”

Earlier broiler and pig studies

Phosphagenics released the findings of an earlier broiler performance study back in December 2016. The trial, it reported, tested a broad range of TPM doses across the life-cycle of over 500 birds; assessing a number of performance end-points including live weight (LW), live weight gain (LWG), average daily gain (ADG) and feed conversion rate (FCR).

It compared (i) base feed (standard feed without added vitamin E), (ii) standard vitamin E feed (base feed with 20ppm additional vitamin E), (iii) high dose vitamin E feed (base feed with 100ppm additional vitamin E), and (iv) Multiple TPM enhanced feeds (standard vitamin E feed with addition of 5 different dose levels of TPM).

The study results demonstrated that compared to base feed, only the ‘TPM enhanced feeds containing TPM at 10 and 20ppm’ and the ‘high dose vitamin E feed’ statistically improved average live weight (LW at Day 28) and average daily gain (ADG; Day 0-28), said the firm.  

A pig study the company also reported on in 2016, produced “statistically significant performance data”​ from newly weaned pigs, and “vital information on TPM’s benefits within the broader livestock feed additive market."

The company said the study showed that TPM treatment administered in the feed for the first two weeks post weaning statistically improved FCR. It assessed 1,512 pigs and eight treatment groups with TPM at inclusion rates of 0-40 ppm in the feed, again provided ad libitum.

TPM: how it works

TPM is said to work by enhancing the solubility and absorption of poorly soluble nutrients.

During digestion, the stomach helps dissolve poorly soluble nutrients by emulsification, a process by which poorly soluble material is encapsulated within vesicles and micelles produced with the help of secreted bile salts.

The addition of phosphate groups to vitamin E molecules makes TPM molecules amphipathic, meaning that they have solubility in both water and oil. This is in contrast to traditional forms of vitamin E such as alpha tocopherol or tocopheryl acetate, which are either oil or water soluble molecules. The amphipathic nature of TPM means that it can self-assemble into small particles that are able to entrap molecules of interest, including vitamins, minerals and key nutrients.

This propensity to vascularize and encapsulate poorly soluble molecules means that TPM may provide a head start for absorption. TPM has been shown, through in vitro​ and in vivo​ studies, to increase the bioavailability and absorption of a range of fat and water soluble molecules, said the company.

“Encapsulating molecules in TPM particles means increasing oral bioavailability and absorption of key nutrients provided in the feed, and maximizes the utilization of supplements and feeds by animals,” ​said Murdoch.

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