July 17, 2021

Companion Animals Symposium II

Companion Animals Symposium II

Summary by: Anne Kamiya, MSc

The 2021 ASAS-CSAS-SSASAS Annual Meeting at the Louisville Convention Center in Kentucky, Companion Animals Symposium II (July 16, 2021), comprised of four presenters from diverse educational backgrounds. The overarching theme was brewing and fermented ingredients in pet nutrition.

Summary of talk #1: “Food Fermentation Basics” presented by Dr. Charles G. Edwards. Food products produced from fermentation are vast, ranging from beer to vinegar. Pomace is the remaining solid material left after fermentation whereas lees are a gooey, viscous residue comprised of mostly dead yeasts and precipitate. Many fermentation byproducts have the potential for becoming coproducts in animal feed. However, the presenter stressed the need to make sure added materials (e.g., enzymes, fining agents) are safe for animals to consume. Overall, there are many challenges to consider when incorporating fermentation byproducts into animal feed, but the benefit is likely to be great. 

Summary of talk #2: “Bioactive Peptides for Enhancing Intestine Health” presented by Dr. Julang Li. This presentation focused on bioactive peptides for improving the intestinal health of farm and companion animals. Antimicrobial peptides (AMP) are active against bacteria, viruses and fungi. Protegrin-1 (PG-1) is a porcine-derived AMP. Successful studies on transgenic mice producing PG-1 were initially conducted; the research focus was then shifted to engineering PG-1 secreting yeast which can be fed to animals. Improvement in intestinal health in a DDS-induced colitis model was noted, mediated by PG-1 induced modulation of proinflammatory cytokines and COX-2 expression. A pathogen challenge also had promising results. Overall, AMPs appear to promote the intestinal health of animals. 

Summary of talk #3: “Fundamentals of Distilled Beverages: Spirits and Their Raw Materials” presented by Liz Rhoades, MSc. This talk introduced the distilled spirts landscape and discussed substrates, raw materials, manufacturing, equipment and potential for use as coproducts in animal feed. Distilled spirts include rum, tequila, whiskey, brandy, vodka, botanicals and more and byproducts are vast. During fermentation, various enzymes, nutrients or antifoam agents can be added resulting in aroma-active or volatile components including higher alcohols, esters, aldehydes, ketones and volatile phenols. Fermentation equipment may also impact byproducts, for example, copper salt residue with copper equipment. Some spent botanicals may be harmful to animals, e.g., thujone is hallucinogenic. Mycotoxin growth also needs to be considered. Overall, distilled spirits have potential for use as animal feed coproducts however there are various pros and cons to consider.  

Summary of talk #4: “Use of Fermentation Co-products in Pet Food and Animal Feeds” presented by Dr. Ruurd T. Zijlstra. This talk reviewed various studies on the potential pitfalls and benefits of feeding fermentation coproducts to dogs. For instance, adding DDGS to dog diets reduces energy digestibility but the addition of xylanase counterbalances these unwanted effects. Other studies noted that dried brewer’s yeast has great potential in companion animal foods because it is more digestible than other coproducts and contains beneficial nutrients, nucleotides, mannan oligosaccharides and β-glucans. Fermentation co-products have the potential to improve cost and sustainability while also providing beneficial nutrients when appropriately included in companion animal feed.