Microencapsulated Oils: Getting more bang for your buck
Oils and lipids in animal feed formula are undoubtedly an important source of energy for our animals. Lipids and oils promote the absorption and utilisation of other nutrients and improve feed conversion.
In addition, lipids (such as fish oil) also provide animals with essential fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)) and promote the absorption and utilisation of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K and carotenoids. Besides nutritional benefits, oils and lipids can improve palatability of feed, lubricate machines, reduce mechanical wear, and helps control dust during production.
Emulsification and formation of micro-micelles
Emulsification is not a foreign concept to the body. As a natural part of digestion, the body produces bile acid to emulsify ingested oils and lipids. On its own, oils do not have a high digestion and absorption rate. Bile acid acts to effectively make large fat globules into smaller droplets, increasing the TSA/V of fat, therefore speeding up the rate of fat digestion by the enzyme lipase. The digested fats form micro-micelles get absorbed into the enterocyte and then transported as chylomicrons into the lymphatic system. The digestion of long chain fatty acids (LCFA) is a costly process, it requires a long time as it needs to be re-esterified, made into chylomicrons then absorbed (Figure 1). It was found that digestion of LCFAs by 3-week-old piglets is only 37%.
Microencapsulated micro-micelles saves energy
Fats and oils are important energy sources in feed because of its high energy density and energy is a major expenditure for high performing animals. Bile salts are natural emulsifiers, but the capacity of bile production can be a limiting factor for fat digestion. Young animals have a limited production of bile salts causing fat digestibility to be limited in the early stages of life. Besides this, the characteristics of dietary fat and the amount of fat added can restrict fat digestibility.
Therefore, it is logical to try to overcome the limitations of oils and lipid in terms of digestion and absorption in order to unlock the full potential of this energy filled feed material. In 2005, Singao Agriculture, our parent company, launched a water-soluble microencapsulated fat powder in China. Using whey powder, chitosan, casein, and dextrin as the wall material, encapsulating a homogeneously emulsified micro-micelle, containing bile acid. The result is a water-soluble microencapsulated fat powder that is essentially an “oil-in-water” feed ingredient created with patented technology.
By incorporating microencapsulated micro-micelles in the feed formulation, efficiency of feed can be improved, therefore improving performance. So, what are the pros of using microencapsulated micro-micelles?
- Being emulsified and homogenised imitates oil absorption in the intestines by creating in-vitro micro-micelles and adding it to animal feed. This is particularly beneficial to young animals with underdeveloped digestive systems; animals with damaged intestines, imperfect hepatobiliary development, liver function disorder; poultry, in particularly aging layers, breeders receiving high fat diet; sows under heat stress; and in aquatic animals such as crustaceans by greatly improving the digestion and absorption rate of oils by these animals.
- Emulsified fat slows down stomach emptying by the pylorus. This leads to increased feed retention and improved feed digestion and absorption.
- The diameter of ordinary oil droplets is 25μm. However, microencapsulated oils have a diameter of less than 5μm. This allows for effective and an even mix of feed when adding oils and can even replace liquid oil in feed.
- In terms of using fish oil, it is commonly known that fish oil is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and can oxidize easily, ruining the value of fish oil if not stored properly. Besides that, copper and iron ions are also known to oxidize fish oil. Therefore, microencapsulation protects this valuable from oxidation, maintaining its’ potency.
- Microencapsulated oils are not only energy efficient but also cost efficient. Through simple mixing, absorption rate of oils can increase by 5%; through emulsifying oils, digestion and absorption rate of oils can increase by 10% and through homogenizing the fat digestion and absorption can be increased by 15%. However, after emulsifying and homogenising and being microencapsulated, the fat absorption rate for 3-week-old suckling piglets increased to 90.2%.
- The wall material and core material can be configured to meet the different needs of customers. For example, fish oil (rich in EPA and DHA) or coconut oil (fish in medium-chain fatty acids) can be microencapsulated to meet different needs.
Manuka Biotech carries a range of Lipotech products that could meet your various lipid and oil needs. Do contact us for more information.
By Kayla Wong, Technical Specialist, Manuka Biotech