Butyrate reduces impact of heat stress

Palital, Velddriel, The Netherlands

  1. Heat stress


Heat stress is a major cause of lost production and reduced profits in tropical and subtropical areas. Virtually all birds and most commercial livestock, farmed in hot and humid countries, are genetically derived from strains originally bred in the cool climates of Europe and North America and therefore not specifically designed for these conditions (www.heatstress.info).
A review of pig heat and moisture production by Brown-Brandl et al. (2003) suggested that new genetic lines of pigs produce nearly 20% more heat than their counterparts in the early 1980s. This trend is likely to have continued in the years since this review was conducted and heat production could be a further 10% higher again.

A publication by Pearce et al. (2013) examined what happens to the intestinal structure when pigs are exposed to heat stress. The research showed that exposure to 35°C for 24 hours significantly damaged the intestinal defence function and also increased plasma endotoxin levels. The authors explained that when pigs are exposed to heat stress (even for as little as two to six hours) their intestinal defence systems are significantly compromised and this provides opportunity for infection as pathogenic bacteria can invade the body more easily. The digestive system of poultry is also affected by heat stress. Abdelqader et al. (2016) showed reduced villus height in broilers when heat stressed (32 °C from day 21 to day 34). Mashaly et al. (2004) showed inhibited total white blood cell counts in laying hens indicating the immune response also to be affected.

“It is well documented that the stress of hot environments lowers productive and reproductive efficiency in farm animals. Likewise, research information is available to help in the management of livestock in such adverse conditions” (Fuquay J, 1981) . Unfortunately, practical methods to achieve the required levels of performance are not always at hand. More in-depth information is needed on the total dietary needs of all farm animals in hot environments. Nutritionally, the aim should be to increase absorbtion of protein, amino acids or other critical nutrients to keep production going. “Increasing nutrient intake to support a higher level of production will render animals more sensitive, in terms of productive efficiency, to environmental modifications that improve comfort” (Fuquay J, 1981).

Butyrate and heat stress

The effects of butyrate on intestinal health has already been described in detail in many reports (Guilloteau et al, 2010, Canani et al, 2011). Supplementation of butyrate in the feed can beneficially influence growth performance and intestinal villus structure in broiler chickens (Hu et al, 2008).

Most studies however are done under normal conditions. Abdelqader et al. (2016) compared heat stressed broilers with and without butyrate in the diet and showed beneficial results of coated butyrate on both performance and health results. They concluded that dietary inclusion of butyrate for heat-stressed broilers can reduce intestinal epithelia damage and accelerate subsequent recovery of growth performance and intestinal histological characteristics.

The working mechanism behind this is described by Ren (2001) in rats. They concluded Butyrate induces a time- and concentration-dependent increase in hsp25, but not hsp72 or hsc73, protein expression in rat IEC-18 cells but not 3T3 fibroblasts. The gene name including ‘hsp’ indicates the involved was first identified as a heat shock protein.

In conclusion: butyrate makes the gut more resilient against heat stress. This support comes via 1) an increased absorptive capacity during low feed intake and 2) via an increase in damage control mechanisms in the gut.

Palital has butyrates for every situation: Intest-Plus

The Intest-Plus product line from Palital consists of different butyrates, coated and uncoated with different butyrate levels. These products can help to reduce the impact of heat stress on livestock. For the best fit in your situation contact your Palital sales agent.

  1. Literature

Abdelqader A and Al-Fataftah A,  Effect of dietary butyric acid on performance, intestinal morphology, microflora composition and intestinal recovery of heat-stressed broilers, Livestock science 183 (2016) 78-83

Brown–Brandl TM, Yanagi T, Xin Jr. H, Gates RS, Bucklin RA,  Ross GS, A new telemetry system for measuring core body temperature in livestock and poultry, Applied Engineering in Agriculture. Vol. 19(5): 583–589 . (doi: 10.13031/2013.15316) 2003

Canani RB, Costanzo MD, Leone L, Pedata M, Meli R, Calignano A. Potential beneficial effects of butyrate in intestinal and extraintestinal diseases. World J Gastroenterol (2011) 17(12):1519–28. doi:10.3748/wjg.v17.i12

Fuquay JW,  Heat stress as it affects animal production, J Anim Sci. 1981 Jan;52(1):164-74

Guilloteau P, Martin L, Eeckhaut V, Ducatelle R, Zabielski R, Van Immerseel F. From the gut to the peripheral tissues: the multiple effects of butyrate. Nutr Res Rev (2010) 23(2):366–84. doi:10.1017/S0954422410000247

Hu XF, Guo YM. Corticosterone administration alters small intestinal morphology and function of broiler chickens. Asian Australas J Anim Sci (2008) 21(12):1773–8. doi:10.5713/ajas.2008.80167

Mashaly MM, Hendricks GL 3rd, Kalama MA, Gehad AE, Abbas AO, Patterson PH, Effect of Heat Stress on Production Parameters and Immune Responses of Commercial Laying Hens, Poultry Science, Volume 83, Issue 6, 1 June 2004, Pages 889–894, https://doi.org/10.1093/ps/83.6.889

Pearce SC,  Gabler NK,  Ross JW,  Escobar  J, Patience JF, Rhoads RP, Baumgard LH, The effects of heat stress and plane of nutrition on metabolism in growing pigs, Journal of Animal Science, Volume 91, Issue 5, 1 May 2013, Pages 2108–2118, https://doi.org/10.2527/jas.2012-5738

Ren H, Mush MW, Kojima K, Boone D, Ma A, Chang EB. Short-chain fatty acids induce intestinal epithelial heat shock protein 25 expression in rats and IEC18 cells. Gastroenterology 201; 121: 631-639