Pet Food nutrition insights from BRF Ingredients
The search for good nutrition, which can help reaching a long and healthy life is a reality for humanity, and, consequently, for the domestic animals. The development of increasingly specific feeds for the reality and health conditions of dogs and cats is a great ally in the search for their well-being and longevity. Despite being a current tendency, the relation between nutrition and health has been addressed for thousands of years. In ancient Greece, Hipocrates said, “Let food be the medicine and medicine be the food”. In this context, the functional ingredients have been gaining more and more space in the pet formulas as well as in our own diets.
The Chicken Protein Hydrolysate is a functional ingredient produced by enzymatic hydrolysis. The softer conditions of this type of processing, such as lower temperature and pressure and extremely quick drying, preserve the nutritional richness of the raw material. Besides, the utilization of the enzyme, in its optimal conditions of activity, cleaves the peptide bonds, generating low molecular mass peptides with high digestibility, which are known for having different bioactivities in the animal organism.
The bioactive peptides are specific sequences of amino acids with low molecular mass and a specific activity in the organism of the animal. Up to this moment, 55 different bioactivities have been identified and attributed to those small protein molecules, among them: immunomodulation, immunostimulant, antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-hypertensive activity. These bioactivities are concentrated especially in peptides of up to 5 kDa of molecular mass.
With the utilization of adequate processes and selected enzymes, the biggest part of the protein content in the production of Chicken Protein Hydrolysate is in the shape of small peptides with less than 3kDa of molecular mass – range that is considered to have the greatest bioactivity.
Figure 1. Molecular mass distribution of Chicken Protein Hydrolysate from BRF Ingredients
Hypertension is common in old cats, affecting 13% of 9-year-old or older healthy cats (Conroy et al. 2018) Since hypertension is frequently associated to underlying diseases, its prevalence reaches 87% among cats with simultaneous disorders (Acierno et al. 2018). The enzymatically hydrolyzed proteins can be applied to the diets to treat and prevent hypertension, with the advantage of being a natural molecule without the unwanted side effects of many medicines used to correct this disorder.
The blood pressure is usually controlled by the inhibition of the activity of the ACE – Angiotensin-converting enzyme. The ACE is responsible for the conversion of the angiotensin-I to angiotensin-II, the later related to the contraction of the arteries and the stimulation of the secretion of aldosterone, which, in turn, stimulates the retention of sodium and consequent elevation of the blood pressure.
An in vivo study with 8 healthy cats, comparing two isoenergetic and isoprotein diets, one formulated with the Chicken Protein Hydrolysate (CPH) from BRF Ingredients, and the other with conventional poultry by-product meal, has shown that the cats fed with CPH tended to have less serum activity of the ACE than those fed with conventional poultry by-product meal (126 versus 142 U/L, p=0,09), reaching the conclusion that the inclusion of Chicken Protein Hydrolysate in extruded diets for cats may cause an inhibition of the ACE, avoiding the elevation of the blood pressure of the animals².
Figure 2. (a) Serum activity of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) and (b) concentration of aldosterone in cats fed with diets poultry by-product meal (PBM) or chicken protein hydrolysate (CPH) bowels. (Source: adapted from Miltenburg et al., 2020)
The in vivo results of this study have confirmed the in vitro results previously done by the same authors, in which the Chicken Protein Hydrolysate produced by BRF Ingredients inhibited 90.4% of the ACE², indicating a large potential of its anti-hypertensive activity.
Food allergy, also called food hyper sensibility, occurs in 10% of the dogs and cats with skin diseases and corresponds to about 5% of the allergy cases, constituting the third dermopathy of allergic nature among dogs and cats.
It is known that most of the protein allergenic components have molecular mass above 10 kDa. The intensity of the hydrolysis in the production process of Chicken Protein Hydrolysate from BRF Ingredients generates peptides of up to 3 kDa (Figure 1), smaller than the size of the allergenics, which reduces the probability of the diets formulated exclusively with this ingredient as protein source causing allergy in the animals.
In the animal organism, the peptides have absorption tracks different from the amino acids, thus they can be fully absorbed by the enterocytes, without suffering hydrolysis by the endogenous enzymes. These alternative absorption tracks may accelerate the absorption of diets with hydrolyzed proteins, increasing their digestibility and reducing the amount of feces of these animals.
This effect could be seen in a study performed with 15 adult dogs fed with two diets isoenergetic and iso-protein, with one control diet formulated with conventional low ash chicken bowels flour and the other with the inclusion of 4% of the Chicken Protein Hydrolysate (CPH). The inclusion of the CPH from BRF Ingredients increased the apparent digestibility coefficient of the nutrients in the diet, as well as reducing by 12% the fecal dry matter (p<0,05)³.
Table 1. Apparent digestibility coefficient (ADC, %) of the nutrients and metabolizable energy (ME, kcal/kg) of the diets and the fecal characteristics of the dogs (Source: adapted from Carvalho et al., 2019).
a,b Averages followed by distinct letters differ by the Tukey test (P<0,05).
The functionality of a hydrolyzed product is the result of a set of factors, such as type of enzyme, intensity of the hydrolysis, type and freshness of the raw material, processing conditions, size of the molecular mass, sequence of amino acids in the formed peptides, among others. Taking into consideration all the functional benefits verified above, it is important to mention that not all the hydrolyzed proteins will guarantee this same performance in the feeds. Therefore, it is fundamental to verify the scientific references and the results of each specific ingredient.
Another relevant factor in the choice of the best suppliers is opting for those who have a clear traceability process from the beginning to the end of the production chain, so that one can be sure of the quality and safety of the product, besides prioritizing suppliers who work with fresh raw material, what keeps the high quality of the final product.
A lot is already known about the benefits of the application of the Chicken Protein Hydrolysate from BRF Ingredients for the diets of dogs and cats, such as its hypoallergenic application, improvement of the digestibility, bioactivities as the anti-hypertensive. In the common objective of promoting the health and the longevity of our four-legged friends through the best available diets, the utilization of this functional ingredient stands out for being a product with proven functionalities and guaranteed quality.
CARVALHO, P. G. B. ; MARTINS, A. P. ; KOMARCHEUSKI, A. S. ; Kaelle, G.C.B ; Bastos, T. S. ; SOUZA, C. M. M. ; FÉLIX, Ananda Portella . Digestibility and palatability of the Chicken protein hydrolysate in dogs. In: XVIII Congresso CBNA pet, 2019, Campinas. XVIII Congresso CBNA pet. Campinas: CBNA, 2019.
By Lindsay Beaton
While dogs and cats continue to reign supreme, the growth of the “other” pet space can’t be denied: 9.9 million homes own a bird, 6.2 million homes have a small pet (usually small mammals) and 5.7 million homes own a reptile.
By Lindsay Beaton
Pet owners with birds, small mammals and other types of non-dog/cat animals are demanding the best for their feathered, furry or scaly friends.