Antibiotics work against bacteria and different classes of antibiotics have distinct targeting spectrums and potencies. These antibiotics have long been used in the animal industry for therapeutic purposes. Certain antibiotics have also been and continue to be used for treating subclinical diseases and successful intervention can indirectly improve animal growth and feed efficiency. However, the antibiotic usage in food animals is contributing to the global problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria across human and animal populations. These concerns have led to calls to significantly reduce or stop the use of antibiotics in animals that are also used in human medicine, particularly in cases where they are used at sub-therapeutic levels to promote growth. Legislative bans on growth-promoting antibiotics have been passed in different parts of the world, such as the European Union, while other regulatory actions, such as the revised Veterinary Feed Directive in the United States, are encouraging more judicious use of human medically relevant, therapeutic antibiotics in food animal production, including halting sub-therapeutic usage of such antibiotics. Concerns and legislative actions around antibiotic use in food animals are leading to an increase in the search for tools to counter pathogens.
Organic acids (OAs) are known to attribute to various factors, including, reducing the buffering capacity of diets, controlling harmful microorganisms in digestive and respiratory organs by reducing pH levels in the stomach and gut, promoting the availability of nutrients in the diet and their absorption and digestion, and improving immune responses in monogastric animals which can make a great contribution to the profitability in the animal production and also can provide people with healthy and nutritious animal products. Medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) defined as saturated fatty acids with C6 to C12 hydrocarbon chains are another type of acids that could be considered as antibiotic replacers. MCFAs have strong antibacterial activity against Gram-positive bacteria such as C. perfringens and Escherichia coli. In addition, OAs can even further improve the antibacterial effects of MCFAs (Zentek et al., 2011). A recent study showed immune enhancer medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) blend with organic acid, especially saturated MCFAs with 6–12 carbon-long chains, have demonstrated positive benefits as feed additives by improving animal health, production, and feed digestibility. The combination of OAs and MCFAs has been reported to have beneficial effects on intestinal microecology in piglets (Zentek et al., 2013; Kuang et al., 2015) and nutrient digestibility in laying hens (Lee et al., 2015).
Ongoing challenges in the swine industry, such as reduced access to antibiotics and virus outbreaks (e.g., porcine epidemic diarrheal virus, African swine fever virus), have prompted calls for innovative feed additives to support pig production. Medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) and monoglycerides have emerged as a potential option due to key molecular features and versatile functions, including inhibitory activity against viral and bacterial pathogens. In this review, we summarize recent studies examining the potential of MCFAs and monoglycerides as feed additives to improve pig gut health and to mitigate feed pathogens. The molecular properties and biological functions of MCFAs and monoglycerides are first introduced along with an overview of intervention needs at different stages of pig production. The latest progress in testing MCFAs and monoglycerides as feed additives in pig diets is then presented, and their effects on a wide range of production issues, such as growth performance, pathogenic infections, and gut health, are covered. The utilization of MCFAs and monoglycerides together with other feed additives such as organic acids demonstrate potential for feed pathogen mitigation to curb disease transmission. MCFAs and monoglycerides may become an important class of feed additives in pig production for gut health improvement and feed pathogen mitigation.
ZAGROs newly introduced product called Zacid MCFA Plus is an example of this latest innovation of organic acids and medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) combination. The organic acids inhibit proliferation of gram-negative bacteria both in feeds and gastro-intestinal tract while MCFA, on the other hand, controls gram positive bacteria especially C. perfringens. This synergistic mixture of organic acid and MCFA of Zacid MCFA Plus gives superior protection against Necrotic enteritis. Organic Acid limits the effects of predisposing factor brought by C. perfringens such as salmonellosis and mycotoxins produced by moulds, while MCFA protects small intestines from direct invasion of C. perfringens. Feeds supplemented with a blend of OAs and MCFAs have improved the animal’s performance, FCR, digestibility of DM, Lactobacillus count, IgG concentration and decreased pathogenic bacteria count. Zacid MCFA Plus blend of MCFAs and monoglycerides also have the capability to inhibit numerous types of lipid bilayer-enveloped viruses, including vesicular stomatitis virus, herpes simplex virus, visna virus, respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza virus type 2, avian influenza virus, and ASFv. More recent studies have demonstrated that they also exhibit strong antiviral activity against other swine specific viral pathogens, such as porcine reproductive respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSv) and porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) which contain lipid bilayer envelopes that are necessary for structural integrity and infectivity.
Zacid MCFA Plus: Animals Defense Against Major Disease Farm Outbreak