Trends in improving animal health and nutrition

As our world population increases rapidly, ensuring the health of farm animals is essential not only for businesses but also for consumers. Learn what's being done about it.

What increasing population means for animal farmers

Every year, the world population increases by 1.05% but the amount of land there is for farming stays the same. Therefore, each year more pressure is put on farmers to make the most out of their land and their animals. Further, environmental legislation has been put in place which makes farmers have to look for more sustainable options when it comes to animals.

With increasing populations comes more animals being bred for consumption, and that means more emissions and waste -- the agriculture industry produces about a quarter of global emissions. 

That number is even expected to increase as well as further restrictions. The need for sustainable solutions when it comes to animal health and nutrition is significant. 

New animal feed and nutrition technology

Animal feed is essential in the plight to increase animal health and nutrition. There have been many recent advancements in the field, such as ProAct 360™, phytases, and more. 

ProAct 360™ and protease technology

DSM and Novozymes created the newest edition of ProAct, a feed protease technology that is excellent when it comes to feed efficiency, affordability, and sustainability. It works by increasing the digestibility of amino acids in feed thereby increasing the available protein content. This happens because only part of the protein in feed ingredients (even high protein meals such as soy!) are readily digestible. This also improves the sustainability of animal feed because undigested protein releases nitrogen emissions into the environment.

Further, by increasing digestible protein, it allows for more flexibility in feed formulation, allowing more diverse feed materials to be used, reducing the reliance on soybean. ProAct 360™ is now available to poultry and swine customers in selected regions.


Many livestock animals require phosphorous for normal body maintenance and growth. Although phosphorous is abundant in most grains in feed diets, only a small portion of it can be digested as the majority exists in the form of phytate, which cannot be digested by poultry and swine. As a result, for over 30 years, feed diets have been supplemented with phytases. 

Phytases are enzymes that release phosphorus, so it allows for saving of inorganic phosphorus and reducing emissions from animals that otherwise would not have been able to digest it. It is not found in large amounts in the ground, so being able to sustainably create an alternative has been excellent at keeping as much natural phosphorus as possible. 

Overall, phytases allow for less emissions from animals that are harmful for the atmosphere, as well as less energy being used to harvest that phosphorus. 

Watch this video to learn more about phytases.

Fiber, starch, and carbohydrate degrading enzymes

In animal diets, not all protein and starch is utilized, because a lot of the time it hides behind fibrous cell walls. Therefore, fiber degrading enzymes such as xylanases break down these cell walls. By doing that, the enzymes improve protein utilization and energy reducing the need for more feed. Further, these enzymes reduce emissions of two dangerous greenhouse gases, nitrous oxide and methane, from manure. 

Beyond animal diets, reducing the amount of feed needed to feed animals also reduce the amount of land needed to grow the feed, leading to less energy used as well. 

Starch degrading enzymes, such as amylases, work similarly to xylanases, breaking down undigestible starches in animal feed. Farmers are then able to save energy-rich feed ingredients, such as animal fat or vegetable oil,   leading to reduced feed costs.  This also helps to reduce carbon dioxide, emissions, and the use of fossil fuels, which are all contributors to climate change. 

Carbohydrases also break down carbohydrate-based cell walls in the cells of different plants that are difficult to digest by some animals.


For poultry farmers, it’s important to make the most profit you can. With Novozymes and DSM’s new enzyme Balancius®, farmers can ensure their broiler chickens will be able to absorb more nutrients from their feed. Therefore, less feed can be used which leads to an overall more sustainable business. 

The new enzyme product works by improving gut health in chickens that in turn allows them to absorb more nutrients. It removes bacterial cell debris from the gut, allowing farmers to produce 3% more food from the same amount as before. 

Balancius® is based on a naturally occurring enzyme and will allow for farmers to move towards more sustainable practices. 

Can we help improve your animal feed? 

Can we help improve your animal feed? 

From probiotics to enzymes, we have a wide array of products that can help animals get more out of their feed -- and in a sustainable manner. 

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