Feed grain cell walls contain fibre structures made of complex polymers called non-starch polysaccharides (NSP). They enclose highly valuable nutrients in the cells (cage effect), like proteins or starch and act as a barrier. While animals possess the enzymes to digest these nutrients, they lack the adequate NSP enzymes needed to degrade the substrates in the fibre structures, preventing them from entering into cells.
A major component of the fibre structures found in plant cell walls is arabinoxylan (AX). There are two types of arabinoxylans, soluble and insoluble. Xylanase is the only enzyme responsible for degrading this substrate. However, not all xylanases can effectively degrade both soluble and insoluble arabinoxylans.
The undigested NSPs reach the hindgut, which causes viscosity. The viscosity causes the slow passage of ingesta and the fermentation of the NSPs. This limits the contact between intestinal mucosa and nutrients, leading to a reduction in digestion and absorption and the disruption of gut microbiota.
Feed cost represents one of the biggest challenges for livestock and poultry production. On top of that, feed ingredients increased by 30% in some regions. Thus the variation in feed ingredients, feed nutritional values, and metabolized energy make the use of enzymes and diet reformulation essential for feed cost optimization.