study recently published on WATTAgNet.com, an information resource for poultry, pig and feed industries, determined that piglets fed with microalgae demonstrated increased immunity and antiviral defenses by limiting the negative effects of mycotoxins.
Structural acid polysaccharides that reside in the cell wall of algae stimulate production of mucin in the intestinal tract. Mucin then binds to viruses, inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria on the wall of the intestines. While feed producers typically used charcoal to achieve this effect, the algae in this study reduced the effects of the toxins without sacrificing nutrient absorption in the small intestine.
According to Algae for Feed, a Portuguese bioengineering company that promotes the use of algae as a feed ingredient, algae contains essential amino acids, which are required for adequate growth and maintenance of muscle tissue. Amino acids also serve as a gauge for the nutritional quality of a protein source.
As of yet, the general expense of utilizing algae in pig feed has prevented producers from adopting it, say researchers at WATTAgNet. Though, in the long run, they feel the ingredient could be the answer to sustainable high-quality pig feed.