Date: 04/02/2019

Knowing the best nutritional solution is a necessity for breeders and a duty of those responsible for the manufacture of animal feed.

Therefore, understanding the importance of bioactive peptides in animal nutrition is of first importance to add value to the functional element present in the best foods and formulations.

1. What are Peptides

Peptides are formed by the covalent bonding of two or more short chains of amino acids by peptide bonds, which results in fast digestion and absorption and excellent functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.

This two amino acid linkage is known as dipeptide. When there are three linked amino acids: tripeptide, and four or more are called polypeptide. Only protein processing is able to establish this connection between two or more peptides.

According to Scott Gilbert in the book Developmental Biology, small peptides, being proteolysis products, are absorbed and used directly by the intestine.

This way, peptides are excellent for improving animal nutrition and increasing growth from their inclusion in the diet.

2. Bioactive peptides in animal nutrition

The biological activity of the peptides allows a substantial increase in the nutritional value of the rations and improves the functioning of the whole digestive system. Because of that, these rations are considered essentially functional.

It is true that small peptides do not play any activity on the native protein, so they need to be released through hydrolysis.

The effect of hydrolysis with the use of proteolytic enzymes from microorganisms can be produced on an industrial scale. This favors the productive chain and the improvement in animal nutrition.

3. Functioning of bioactive peptides in the bloodstream

Short chain peptides, the case of bioactive peptides, have been replicated quite effectively and present no risk of congestion or collapse in the animal’s digestive system, as they are much more stable than the long chain molecules present in other types of peptides.

In this sense, these peptides quickly reach the bloodstream and the cells of origin to do the nutritional work, because they are directed efficiently.

Some of them perform nutritional work on the way, that is, before even establishing this cellular connection.

Thus, when applied to animal nutrition, bioactive peptides:

  • Increase feed efficiency and accelerate animal growth;
  • Improve the animal’s physiology;
  • Stimulate the immune and nervous system, letting animals free from stress and other pathologies.

Increased food consumption

As bioactive peptides allow fast absorption of micronutrients by the body and are easy to digest, the animals feed in a shorter time, allowing a more rapid fattening.

This increase in consumption has to do with the improvement in palatability and with the direct influence on appetite for the hormone regulating hunger.

Bigger and better nutritional value

The functionality of the bioactive peptides guarantees a great advantage over other types of inputs, because it is of no use a good nutritional value if nothing is absorbed by the organism of the animal.

Therefore, knowing that bioactive peptides are short chain, free and balanced protein molecules, with high digestible protein content and excellent bioavailability rate, we have the factors of nutrition and functionality.

Nutritionally speaking it is possible to consider all the proteins, vitamins and amino acids of a good formulation. As for the functionality, the main element is the rapidity that these amino acids reach the bloodstream and, consequently, the cells, without causing any problems to digestion.

Stimulator of the immune system

In addition to the biological and physiological functions of peptide molecules, they are stimulators of the immune system, something that reduces the possibility of common diseases such as viruses, aside from avoiding the worsening of other more complex diseases.

The amino acids obtained through hydrolysis and the function of bioactive peptides are basically antioxidants and antimicrobials, which give them properties against free radical and are used as barriers for attacks of disease-causing bacteria, viruses and microorganisms.

4. Advantages of Bioactive Peptides

Digestibility: because it is a functional food of fast digestion, the bioactive peptides do not usually stay too long in the stomach of the animals, making the process of evacuation of the leftovers faster. Animals with reflux problems are the most benefited.

Immunity: nutritional and functional foods do not require the body to produce antibodies to defend itselves from invaders. Thus, as bioactives are antioxidants and antimicrobials they stimulate the immune system.

Food conversion: as it is an efficient and nutritional feeding process, it is correct to say that there will be an improvement in food conversion. Then, formulations with bioactive peptides are becoming very popular in the market and, consequently, the industry needs to be prepared.

5. Origin of Bioactive Peptides

From the 1970s, biotechnology decided to study the improvement of animal nutrition with protein hydrolysis, the formation of bioactive peptides and the functional consequence of the short chain peptides action.

Basically they are found in plant and animal proteins (muscle and blood), and the main sources are: dairy products, eggs, fish, chickens, nuts, soybean, pea and others.

It is good to remember that although peptides exist in native proteins, bioactives are only formed from protein hydrolysis.

Chemical hydrolysis and enzymatic hydrolysis are the most commonly used methods, and the enzymatic method is the most recognized for its efficiency in the transformation of peptides and the production of the maximum possible bioactivity.

6. How Hydrolyzed Proteins affect animal feed

Hydrolyzed proteins act directly in the development of animals through a diet rich in essential amino acids. The purpose of this type of food is to be as complete as possible, either because of its nutritional value or its functional value.

Because hydrolyzed proteins are catalyzed into small, bioactive or non-bioactive peptides, they are more readily absorbed by enterocytes, being much more active than free amino acids. Thus, it generates a balance of these amino acids in the bloodstream.

7. Why is Chicken Protein Hydrolysate the best option

Although all peptides have nutritional and functional value in animal nutrition, while the hydrolysis of vegetable protein and milk allows an increase in nutritional value, the meat one has a higher concentration of bioactive peptides.

This means that in addition to the nutritional value, it is possible to formulate a much more functional food.

Also, the hydrolyzed chicken protein is one of the most studied ones by the scientific community, especially when it comes to the enzymatic hydrolysis for the formulation of food for pets, pigs and for aquaculture.

The benefits of hydrolyzed chicken protein are as follows:

  • High pure protein content;
  • High digestibility;
  • Increased good cholesterol (HDL) and decreased bad cholesterol (VLDL);
  • Decreased triglycerides;
  • Hypoallergenic;
  • Low mineral matter content.

In short, bioactive peptides in animal nutrition are no longer a research element but are essential in daily diet. All the benefits listed here prove that hydrolyzed protein can be very advantageous in animal feeding.

In addition to better performance and high nutrient availability, protein hydrolysis is an effective solution in the formulation of functional foods and adds value to the animals’ daily lives.