by Evonik Industries, Germany


Evonik has developed AMINONIR® FA – the first of its kind NIR service for the complete set of fatty acids contained in feed ingredients and fish feeds. Besides fish feed for various species, the Evonik calibration portfolio serves more than 20 raw materials covering up to 49 individual fatty acids from C6 to C24.

Calibrations are based on representative samples from all-important countries of origin worldwide and are continuously updated and extended. The major advantage of advanced AMINONIR® FA is that fatty acid profiles become available in a matter of minutes without involving tedious wet chemical analyses or third-party labs.

Director Service Development, Dr Markus Wiltafsky-Martin, says a user of AMINONIR® FA can analyse thousands of samples per year which offers totally new possibilities to benefit from the analytical results.

'The past 60 years in animal nutrition, we have always strived to be more precise and create diets that fit better to the real requirements of the animals,' he says. 'Fatty acids are essential for animals to prevent major health and performance problems.'

Besides being an energy source, fatty acids have other vital functions in insulation, the protection of inner organs, and as a building block of membranes. They are also needed for the synthesis of hormones (eicosanoids) and as carriers of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Dr Wiltafsky-Martin points out that it's important not to focus only on the total fat levels in animal diets.

'Instead of looking at total fat levels, we advise to focus on the fatty acid composition. There can be a lot of variation in the fatty acid pattern even within the same type of feed ingredient. It is important to consider these variations in the feed formulation to really meet the needs of the animals.'

He says essential fatty acids for poultry and pigs include linoleic acid and linolenic acid, while marine fish require docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and arachidonic acid.

'Some fatty acids are essential and need to be supplied via feed. In laying hens, the supply of essential fatty acids has an impact on egg size, while in sows the supply of essential fatty acids ensures reproductive performance and piglet development,' says Dr Wiltafsky-Martin. 'In reproductive animals it's very important to have the right levels of those fatty acids which are precursors of hormones. They can support uterine health post-partum, follicle-oocyte development, the luteal phase and embryo development.'

Meeting an animal's requirement of essential fatty acids is one important goal that can be secured with AMINONIR® FA. Another important aspect of fatty acids in animal nutrition is the supply of essential fatty acids for human nutrition.

'The fatty acid pattern of the feed has an impact on the fatty acid composition of the animal and its products (carry-over effect). This needs to be considered in animal nutrition. For example, in finishing pigs, dietary levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids need to be restricted to keep bacon quality high whereas in salmons and enriched eggs high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids are wanted to meet the consumer demands,' he says.

Dr Wiltafsky-Martin points out that in the past it has not been possible to obtain a precise breakdown of the fatty acid composition in feed stuffs as a routine during quality control of feed ingredients simply because the necessary wet-chemistry methods are expensive and time consuming. AMINONIR® FA closes this gap.

With regard to quality control of feed ingredients, Dr Wiltafsky-Martin highlights the special situation for rapeseed and mustard products.

'Erucic acid in rapeseed and mustard products needs to be controlled due to its potentially toxic effects and impact on heart functionality,' he says.

The AMINONIR® FA service provides exactly what is needed to do this job: precise and reliable results for erucic acid within minutes available at the place of decision. AMINONIR® FA enhances Evonik's AMINONIR® Advanced capabilities that deliver the right data to optimise feed specifications and control feed costs at the highest quality and speed, covering the widest number of feed ingredients used by the feed industry.

Erucic acid in rapeseed and mustard products needs to be controlled due to its potentially toxic effects. The heart is the principal target organ for toxic effects following short-term or long-term exposure of animals to diets with oils containing erucic acid.

The most common and sensitive effect observed in all species is myocardial lipidosis (fatty heart), i.e. an accumulation of triacylglycerols in myocardium that appear as neutral lipid droplets.

Studies showed the feeding poultry with diets containing erucic acid resulted in growth retardation and cardiac lipidosis. High doses of erucic acid also increased the incidence and severity of cardiac lesions.

In traditional rapeseeds, erucic acid represents about 50 percent of the fatty acids. Modern rapeseed varieties are genetically free of erucic acid, meaning the content of erucic acid is less than two percent of the total fatty acids. However, for industry purposes specific rapeseed varieties with high levels of erucic acid are produced and it needs to be avoided that the resulting rapeseed meals from these varieties enter the feed industry. This task can be solved with AMINONIR® FA.

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