Phytase Super-Dosing in Broilers, Layers and Pigs

Phytase Super-Dosing in Broilers, Layers and Pigs

Did you know that on average, Pigs and Poultry can only use 20-30% off the phosphorus available to them in grain feed?

That's because in its storage form of phytic acid, phosphorus is bound up alongside other minerals and nutrients. This means that all the nutrients the animal needs cannot be released from the feed and instead pass through the digestive tract and into the soil and waterways.

Quill Productions is proud to announce the launch of a new product, Quill Calcium Super Boost. Formulated by Quill and manufactured in the UK, Quill Calcium Super Boost is a revolutionary product which provides Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin D3 and a super-dose of phytase, the enzyme needed to breakdown phytic acid and ensure good nutrient absorption.

Super-dosing phytase is a form of supplementing that has proven to be extremely successful in aiding bone growth, egg-shell density and skeletal formation in broiler and layer poultry, as well as pigs. 

Previously phytase has been pre-mixed with feed at a lower dose, however there are two distinct advantages to dosing phytase into drinking water instead:

  • The enzymatic reaction of breaking out the phosphorous happens within the stomach of the animal, instead of using up energy when pre-mixing.
  • At times of growth or stress when super-dosing is needed, the transition over can be quick and easy instead of the laborious and expensive task of changing feed.


What Vitamins and Nutrients are in Calcium Boost?

Calcium Boost contains Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin D3 and Phytase.


  • Good egg-shell quality + immunity during stress conditions.
  • Bone strength and density.


  • Reduces stress + aggressive behaviour.
  • Essential functions in cellular metabolism and bone development.

Vitamin D3:

  • Deficiency can cause rickets in young chicks.
  • Needed so that calcium can be absorbed by their intestines.
  • Development of bones and immunity against disease.


  • Digestive enzyme that helps to release the phosphorous in the diet and increases absorption of other nutrients.


What is phosphorous?

Phosphorus is an important macro mineral for growth, development, and maintenance of the skeletal system. On average, 70% of total phosphorous is in the form of phytic acid in the animal’s feed. Without enzymes, broilers can only use 20% to 30% of the potential phosphorous.

What is phytic acid?

Phytic acid is the storage form of phosphorous, found in all common plant-based feeds. It binds important nutrients like calcium, iron, and amino acids to create phytate, making these nutrients unavailable for the animal to digest. This is highly uneconomical, and it means that more nutrients need to be added, a lot of which is excreted and wasted.

What is phytase?

Phytase is a digestive enzyme which can be used to help release the phosphorous which is bound up in phytate molecules, making it easier for the animal to digest the phosphorous. Adding phytase to the diet ensures that any extra phytic acid is broken down in the stomach so that as many nutrients as possible can be absorbed, including phosphorous and calcium.

What is super-dosing?

Super-dosing is the addition of sufficient phytase to quickly destroy all phytate present in the diet. By providing a high dosage of phytase early on, the phosphorous and other minerals bound up in the phytic acid in feed are released early on and can be absorbed throughout the entirety of the digestive tract. 

The effects of phytase beyond phosphorus release are termed ‘extra-phosphoric’ effects of phytase. The primary effect of phytase is the improvement of phosphorus availability through the release of phosphorus from phytate. However, phytate also forms stable complexes with proteins and minerals like calcium, zinc, and iron in the digestive tract and prevents nutrient absorption (Woyengo and Nyachoti, 2013).

As previously mentioned, phytase has strong binding affinity to nutrients including protein, amino acids & minerals. Increasing research has shown that super dosing phytase improves the digestibility of these nutrients as well as improved phosphorus digestibility.

Research into bone integrity, showed that super-dosing with phytase demonstrates a greater availability of phosphorus, allowing better bone development of the animals. This positive effect can also be attributed to the extra-phosphoric effect of the enzyme, such as the releasing of myo-inositol, calcium, zinc, amino acids, and other substances bind to phytate molecule, which are related to the organic formation of bones.

Super-dosing has further benefits in additional breakdown of lower phytate esters such as IP3 & IP4 (IP6 is the main ester broken down by phytase, but arguments exist suggesting that a build-up of the lower esters occurs once IP6 has been broken down). Super-dosing acts to remove all inhibitors of digestion, leading to improved feed utilisation, growth rates and performance.

In addition, if complete phytate destruction can occur in the digestive tract, there may be increased levels of inositol released, resulting in improved weight gain and feed conversion. Optiphos has been seen to have super-dosing effects at a double dose, rather than a 3-4 times dose as seem with some other phytase products.


Why dose in a liquid?

Typically when super-dosing, phytase is premixed with feed before it is ingested. However, there is one particular difference with Quill Calcium SuperBoost - it is a liquid supplement.

Supplementing phytase in this way means that the enzyme does not waste energy trying to break the phosphorous out of the feed before it has entered the animal.

Not only this - dosing in a liquid rather than feed means that when there is a requirement to support peak growth or improve feed efficiency for a specific time frame, Quill Calcium Super Boost can be dosed in specific applications.

Dosing phytase in the drinking water means that levels can be adjusted immediately, without wasting feed, time or manual labour by switching over to new feed.

What are the benefits of using Optiphos phytase?

When selecting the phytase to superdose with, there was a wide choice available on the market. Here's why Quill Productions choose Optiphos to achieve maximum results.

Fastest on the market

As feed moves through the digestive tract quickly, the speed of action by the phytase is critical. There is limited time to release phosphorus from phytate, and a phytase with high speed to take effect while the phytic acid levels are highest is essential to get the most Phosphorus released. Fast action also has an impact on reducing the antinutritional factors of phytic acid, further improving nutritional availability.

Pepsin resistant

Sensitivity to protein breakdown also impacts the efficacy of phytase, with Optiphos being particularly resistant to degradation by pepsin.

pH Stability

pH stability is critical to product performance as phytate must be present as phytic acid to be degraded by phytase and this only occurs when gastric pH is below 4.0. The location for this differs for both pigs and poultry, with phytic acid breakdown occurring in the proventriculus & gizzard of poultry.


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