Shree Krishna Murugan, Rajendra Moorthy, Santosh Vyas, Chandrasekar S and Satyam Sharma


The South Asian market for poultry feed is expanding, driven by the growth of the poultry industry and increasing demand for safe and efficient feed additives. This expansion is supported by large-scale commercial poultry farms and a heightened awareness of the benefits these additives offer. In Poultry, gut health forms the basis of profitable operations by ensuring optimum nutrient utilization matching the continuously intensified genetic demands. Concurrently, the complex ecosystem demands healthy intestinal structure for nutrient absorption and gut-associated immunity, primarily maintained by optimal microvilli growth and ensured barrier function (tight junctions).

Role of Butyric Acid for poultry

Butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid, offers benefits such as

  • Utilized by enterocytes of intestinal epithelial cells as an energy source
  • Improves tight junctions
  • Promotes the growth of tissues lining the gastrointestinal (GI) tract
  • Improves intestinal development

Need for an encapsulated butyric acid

  • Due to the complexity of the gastrointestinal tract, sufficient amounts of butyric acid often fail to reach the intestine. This shortfall can damage the tight junctions caused by pathogens and the premature loss of butyric acid before it reaches the intestine, affecting the farmers’ profitability.
  • As antibiotic usage decreases, farmers are increasingly focusing on efficiently utilizing existing additives to improve animal health, thus reducing the reliance on antibiotics.
  • Through encapsulation, delivery of butyric acid to the small intestine could be achieved, thereby strengthening the barrier and aiding in barrier recovery.

ButiGEM TR acts as the “right source” of butyric acid targeting maximal release in the middle and later parts of the intestine due to its advanced coating technology designed to withstand release in the proximal gut.

BUTIGEM™ TR: Spearheads advancement through a targeted release mechanism

BUTIGEM™ TR, a coated butyric acid product (Fig. 1), presents itself in spherical form with particle sizes averaging around 0.75 mm, designed specifically for incorporation into poultry pellet feed. The coating material was formulated in such a way as to make butyric acid available in the intestine and withstand pelleting conditions. In contrast, conventional butyric acid products make butyric acid available from the initial stage of the GI tract, leading to improper utilization of butyric acid by the bird. During the coating process, the unpleasant odor of butyric acid was concealed, resulting in a product that can be easily managed throughout all operational stages.

In vitro release studies: Guaranteeing gastric bypass efficiency In this study, we simulated the pH conditions of poultry birds and evaluated the butyric acid release from BUTIGEM™ TR (Fig. 2).  At the end of 45 minutes in pH 3.0, low butyric acid was released from find and replace, indicating the butyric acid in BUTIGEM™ TR is protected under gastric conditions. In calcium butyrate, a maximum release of 95% butyric acid was observed suggesting that the butyric acid is not available for the intestine. On transitioning to pH 6.8, ButiGEM TR continues to impress, releasing butyric acid equivalent to 77.06% after 135 minutes, showcasing its superior performance.

BUTIGEM™ TR: Stable in pelleting conditions

The stability of BUTIGEM™ TR was validated with the pellet mill using broiler feed (Fig. 3). A recovery of 88% butyric acid was observed with BUTIGEM™ TR indicating the product is stable at pelleting conditions.

BUTIGEM TR: Improved broiler performance

A broiler trial was carried out to assess the impact of BUTIGEM™ TR on performance parameters (Fig. 4) and its impact on the gut (Fig. 5 & Fig. 7). In the performance parameters, at the end of 35 days, BUTIGEM™ TR treated groups showed 3 points improvement in feed conversion ratio (FCR) over conventional calcium butyrate, indicating the high return potential for BUTIGEM™ TR from a commercial perspective. However, body weight remained similar between the groups.

BUTIGEM™ TR: Increased villi height to crypt depth ratio

In the histopathology studies, the villi height (VH) and crypt depth (CD) for the groups were measured and the ratio was calculated (Fig. 5). The BUTIGEM™ TR group showed a higher ratio compared to the calcium butyrate-treated group, which is an indication of high nutrient absorption.

BUTIGEM™ TR: Protected Gut Integrity & Leakage

Ensuring the integrity of the gut is crucial for optimal bird performance, as a healthy gut facilitates nutrient absorption and acts as a barrier against the entry of harmful high molecular weight substances. Gut integrity (fig. 6) was evaluated using a high molecular weight compound, (Fluorescein isothiocyanate (FiTC), Fig. 7). In a well-functioning gut, FITC remains confined within the gut barrier and does not enter the systemic circulation. Conversely, in the presence of gut damage, substances such as FITC can pass the gut barrier, entering the bloodstream and appearing in the blood plasma. High levels of FITC were noticed in plasma samples of the conventional butyrate products treated group compared to BUTIGEM™ TR. Such results suggest that the calcium butyrate group has a leaky gut compared to the BUTIGEM™ TR-treated group.


  • Showed superior gastric bypass
  • Survived pelleting conditions
  • Improvement in feed conversion ratio (FCR)
  • Higher VH to CD ratio
  • Maintains gut integrity
  • Higher return on investment (ROI)

BUTIGEM TR by its “target release” of butyric acid ensures significant microvilli growth and protected intestinal integrity to improve production performance and act as a persistent mechanism to face intestinal health challenges, thus opening a new arena in gut health management.

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