Prospects of Application of Phytase Enzyme in Feed

Industrial enzyme preparations are a relatively mature and promising core industry in industrial biotechnology, with downstream market amplification effects of tens to hundreds of times, hence being hailed as the "chip" of the biomanufacturing industry. The animal feed sector is stimulating the global demand growth for enzyme preparations, especially after the comprehensive ban on adding antibiotics in feed, many antibiotics will be replaced by enzymes.

Feed enzymes are recognized as the only new type of feed additive that can effectively solve the three major problems in the aquaculture sector: feed safety, lack of feed ingredients, and aquaculture pollution. As a new type of feed additive, phytase enzyme has great potential applications in animal nutrition and environmental protection.

Classification and Sources of Phytase Enzyme

Phytase enzyme is a general term for enzymes that hydrolyze phytate and its salts to produce myo-inositol and phosphoric acid, belonging to phosphoric ester hydrolases. Broadly speaking, phytase enzymes include three types: myo-inositol-hexaphosphate-3-phosphohydrolase (3-phytase enzyme), myo-inositol-hexaphosphate-6-phosphohydrolase (6-phytase enzyme), and nonspecific acid phosphatase (acid phosphatase), which can completely break down myo-inositol phosphates into myo-inositol and phosphoric acid. Phytase enzymes are widely present in animals, plants, and microorganisms. As microbial-derived phytase enzymes have the advantages of a broad range of action, good stability, and easy scale-up production, and are more suitable for monogastric animals and some fish with acidic gastric pH, they have become a key research area in the phytase industry.

Functions of Phytase Enzyme

As a key enzyme in the phytate degradation process, phytase enzyme has been widely used in feed additives for livestock and in human food processing, significantly improving the efficiency of animals in absorbing phytate phosphorus and mineral elements, reducing the phosphorus content in excreta and thus lowering phosphorus pollution in natural ecosystems. At the same time, by adding phytase enzyme to feed, the feed formula can be optimized while maintaining its nutritional level unchanged, thus reducing production costs.

In feed, one-third of phosphorus is digestible inorganic phosphorus, while the remaining two-thirds exist in the form of organic phosphorus, namely phytate salts. As humans and monogastric animals do not secrete or secrete only small amounts of phytase enzyme to degrade phytate in the intestines, phosphorus and other nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, and potassium in food and feed cannot be fully utilized. To maintain the nutritional balance of animal bodies, additional inorganic phosphorus and minerals need to be added, which not only increases feed processing costs but also exacerbates environmental pollution—if phosphorus flows into the ocean, they become a major killer of marine life. Research has shown that adding phytase enzyme to corn and soybean meal diets can increase phosphorus utilization by 60% and reduce phosphorus excretion in feces by 50%.

In recent years, due to the continuous rise in prices of dicalcium phosphate used in feed, feed phytase enzyme as an environmentally friendly and pollution-free feed additive has become the best choice to replace dicalcium phosphate. In the future, with the continuous advancement of application technology of feed phytase enzyme and the enhancement of public environmental awareness, the scope of use of feed phytase enzyme will continue to expand.

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