Evonik in sparkling form: German company launches probiotic for chickens as effervescent tablet

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/ligora
© GettyImages/ligora

Related tags: stress, layers, broilers, Probiotic

Evonik's animal nutrition business line is launching Ecobiol Fizz, the first probiotic for chicken in effervescent tablet form; the product is designed to stabilize the intestinal microbiota of broilers and layers, especially during stressful periods.

The product contains a microbial strain of the species Bacillus amyloliquefaciens​ and its application is via the animals' water supply.

The German specialty chemicals company said the probiotic supports productivity in the barn.

The product quickly dissolves in water tanks or stock solutions and the spores are homogeneously distributed in water over the application period so the entire flock gets an identical supplementation rate of the probiotic, explained Dr Stefan Eils, product management, animal nutrition, Evonik.

One effervescent tablet is sufficient for 1,000 liters of water. The homogeneity is proven for at least 24 hours, said the company. The formulation of the effervescent tablet also does not contain sugar or other additives that promote biofilm formation or clogging in the water line system, it added.

Tackling stress in birds 

Evonik has two other existing products for chickens based on the bacterium, B. amyloliquefaciens​, that are added to feed or feed premix - Ecobiol and Ecobiol Plus. They are used on the farm as a ready-mix. But the effervescent tablet product is different in that it provides a kind of built-in flexibility for poultry farmers, enabling them to be reactive - they can apply the product during periods of stress via the water line, or they can choose to use it as continuous support for their operation, said the developer.

Stress in birds can be caused by feed changes, infections or vaccinations. In such cases, a resilient immune system is required, based on a balanced intestinal microbiota, said Evonik.

In terms of the on-farm indicators of stress a poultry farmer would typically rely on to decide to supplement the bird’s water supply with this probiotic solution, Eils told FeedNavigator: “The signs can be various such as general inactivity, feather loss (unless birds are going through a natural molt), discharges, abnormal droppings, dull and/or closed eyes, ruffled feathers, drooped wings, birds sitting on haunches or lying down. It can also be a decrease in the feed intake and/or increase in water intake.”

He outlined how field trials of Ecobiol Fizz under commercial conditions, where the product was supplemented intermittently, during stressful periods for the birds, such as the post-hatchery phase or following feed changes, showed improvements in health parameters including hock burn and pododermatitis (-5% each).

“This meant better litter quality - less wet litter – which is usually related to a balanced microbiota and better gut health.”

The product manager said Evonik recommends the product is stored in a dry place at room temperature in closed packaging. “Then the product is stable for 12 months form the manufacturing date.”

Ecobiol Fizz can be combined with common feed additives. The product is now available in Europe, and marketing in other regions is scheduled to follow in spring 2021, said Evonik. 

Metabolite production 

Making the case for products based on the bacterium, B. amyloliquefaciens,​ Eils remarked:

We are a science-based company, putting in a lot of effort, not only to ensure the quality and safety of our products, but also investigating their molecular mode of action, using modern omics technologies. By doing so, we have found out that B. amyloliquefaciens CECT 5940 exhibits a huge and diverse potential to produce metabolites including lactate and enzymes, which help to [foster] a favorable microbiota composition​, and control pathogenic bacterial such as E. coli, Salmonella and Clostridia.

“Our strain is stable under feed pelleting conditions and exhibits high resilience and performance in the gastrointestinal environment. In field trials, the strain has demonstrated that it helps to reduce FCR and improve health parameters of the animals, and, in this way, it provides a significant return on investment for the farmer, contributing to sustainable and antibiotic-free animal protein production.  

“Furthermore, it is available in several product forms for flexible application in feed and water.”

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