THE EXTRAORDINARY PROPERTIES OF ENZYMES
…A GOOD DIGESTION IS BASED ON A PROPER FUNCTIONING OF THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM AND, TO THIS END, A KEY ROLE IS PLAYED BY ENZYMES.
ENZYMES – what are they and what are their effects?
Enzymes are particular proteins with the characteristic of being biological catalysts, that means they can lower the activation energy of a reaction, modifying its path in order to make the kinetically slow process faster. The catalysis process induced by an enzyme (as from any other positive catalyst) involves an increase in the reaction speed and, consequently, a faster attainment of the thermodynamic equilibrium state. The enzymes are generally highly specific: they recognize only one or few substrates.
Enzymes carry out important functions, they:
- Decompose food and are the keys the body uses to absorb nutrients;
- Promote the absorption and assimilation of the natural principles and essential cofactors, such as vitamins, minerals and trace elements that are found in food;
- Enable the metabolic functions to perform correctly;
- Destroy toxins in the body.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ADMINISTERING THE EXTRACTED ENZYME AND ITS INACTIVATED STRAIN?
An extracted enzyme is a biological catalyst produced through fermentation processes or other bioreactions from specific organisms. Such enzyme is then purified and extracted from the organism through the cell lysis – when it comes to endogenous enzymes – and from the fermentation broth through different techniques. One of the most common techniques is the affinity chromatography, which involves the use of a chromatographic column packed with a substrate that presents a binding affinity with the enzyme. In this phase, the enzyme will specifically adhere to the substrate packed onto the column. Consequently, all the other mixture components (cell walls, cofactors, DNA, RNA, macromolecules) will penetrate through the column and will emerge undamaged. Then there is the phase of column elution to separate the enzyme and recover it in its pure form.
This method makes it possible to obtain a pure active enzyme and modulate its quantities in the final product, ensuring a high level of product standardization that will not be affected by the variables associated with the use of fermented and inactivated strains.
First of all, the use of an inactivated strain to promote the enzymatic contribution involves the fermentation of the desired strain, with particular attention to the fermentation conditions and the fermentation medium components. Such variables are indeed thoroughly studied on the basis of the metabolic and productive pathways that you want to activate in the strain. Starting from the study of the enzyme’s three-dimensional structure, specific molecules (metallic and non-metallic ions) are administered. They will be necessary to ensure the proper folding and, consequently, the enzyme’s maximum catalytic ability. Moreover, appropriate nutrients and induction molecules are administered for their ability to unlock the transcription of genes that codify the enzyme, increasing the production of this latter in the organism by induction.
At this point, we proceed with the strain activation. At the end of this process, we obtain a complex mixture containing all the organism’s cellular components, cell walls rich in phospholipids and highly energetic molecules. Moreover, there will also be all the enzymes produced by the strain.
This treatment makes it possible to obtain a final product containing all the required enzymes for the catabolism, all the cofactors and coenzymes fundamental to the enzymatic functioning. Considering the use of complementary feed, in fact, the functions are manifold and the metabolic reactions to be catalyzed are deeply interconnected and in close succession. The presence of a complete enzymatic cluster in the ration enables to catalyze subsequent reactions, obtaining the reaction maximum degradation and catalysis in a process fully in line with the classic metabolic pathway. This makes it possible to act on different pathways simultaneously and to achieve the maximum yield in terms of energy recovery, all this through the administration of a single product.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THERE IS AN ENZYME DEFICIENCY?
An insufficient production of enzymes may compromise the organism functioning, even leading to severe structural damage, reducing the vitality and undermining the basic functions.
WHY IMPROVING THE RUMINAL FERMENTATION THROUGH AN ENZYMATIC CONTRIBUTION?
It might be expected that the enzymes alter the feed through their effects on it before the consumption and/or through their action in the rumen and/or the post-ruminal digestive tract as digestion enhancers.
In this context, the Aspergillus oryzae plays a key role in the digestive system of these animals thanks to the exogenous production of hydrolytic enzymes able to degrade the constituents of the plants’ cell walls, such as lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose.
The preliminary results of enzymes can be simple, like for example the release of soluble or complex carbohydrates, such as the removal of the structural barriers that limit the microbial digestion of feeds in the rumen.
Inside the rumen, the enzymes could act directly on the feed or indirectly stimulate the digestive activity through the synergetic effect of the ruminal microorganisms.
The ability to adhere on the food surface and start the degradation before the normal digestive function starts is one of the peculiarities of Aspergillus oryzae. In this way, the active sites are made available for the other microorganisms and for the pancreatic ad microbial enzymes. Furthermore, these enzymes can remain active in the lower digestive tract, by contributing tot the post-ruminal digestion of the fibers, and they can indirectly improve the absorption of nutrients in the lower tract, by reducing the viscosity of intestinal digestion.
In addition, the enzymes produced by A. oryzae (beta-glucans, amylase) increase the digestibility of the diet complex carbohydrates, eliminate pathogenic nutrients, thus compromising their proliferation. The pathogenic microorganisms, indeed, proliferate on undigested carbohydrates at the intestinal level.
The fermentation biomass with Aspergillus oryzae is administered to animals in order to promote the desired outcomes, such as:
- Weight gain;
- Milk production;
- Digestibility of the total tract of the feed components.
Undoubtedly, the way of acting of the exogenous enzymes is extremely complex.
By analyzing the results obtained during experimental trials, it is possible to affirm that the supplement of such biomass and enzymatic action in the livestock diet is able not only to significantly modify the main growth parameters and the products quality destined to the consumer, but also to improve the general wellbeing conditions and positively influence the intestinal balance.