Reed-Sedge Peat (RSP) As a Feed Supplement for Animals
Reed-Sedge Peat (RSP) is all natural material and a source of biologically active
substances, not only for agriculture but also in human and animal medicine. Various
peat extracts have been successfully applied to a variety of clinical applications. RSP
derivatives are viewed as a traditional preventive and therapeutic agent against gastric
and digestive problems such as hyperacidity, diarrhed, gastric ulcers, dysentery etc.
(Kuhnert et al., 1989, 1991; Roost et al., 1990; Banaszkiewicz and Drobnik, 1994).
Externally applied preparations are used for the treatment of dermatitis, haemorhage,
phlebitis, myorrhexis, muscular induration and contusion, joint luxation, vertebral
affliction (cervical and lumbar vertebrae), rheumatoid diseases, ischalgia, arthrosis,
arthritis, osteomyelitis etc. (Kotwica et al., 1976a,b; Callies and Kaiser, 1978; Lotosh,
1991; Eichelsdorfer, 1992; Riede et al., 1992; Praetzel, 1993; Banaszkiewicz and
Drobnik, 1994; Siderov and Mamiliaeva, 1994; Bellometti et al., 1997; Olivera et al.,
1997; Beer et al., 2003a,b).
For farm animals, RSP derivatives are used on bedding. Its structure and soft
characteristics exerts beneficial effects on the prophylaxis of animal limb abrasions
(Lyons, 1996; During et al., 1998). Due to its absorbent capabilities, RSP can reduce
the production of odorous emissions in farm environments as well as various
environmental pollutants (Abbes et al., Logan et al., 1997; Jappssan, 1998; Rizzuti et
al., Japsson, 1998, Rizzuti et al.,1999; Hartikainen et al., 2001; Martens et al., 2001;
Picot et al., 2001; Choi et al., 2003; Heavey, 2003; Tymczyna et al., 2004).
Recent interest of farmers in the use of RSP as a feed supplement has increased
leading to the emergence of peat preparations onto the market. RSP is especially
recommended for the stimulation of growth and the immune system of piglets and sows
(Pavlik et al., 2003). The high content of both beneficial humic substances in RSP other
organic and mineral substances, easy application, absence of side effects of humic
substances (allergy, resistance) and the absence of residues in products of animal
origin (Kuhnert et al., 1989, 1991; Lange et al., 1996a,b) indicate that RSP can be used
in animal nutrition. It does not provide calories, but has various health benefits.
RSP can be successfully used as an additive in animal feed. Various research
trials conducted worldwide have all showed positive results concerning the use of RSP
as an organic feed ingredient. Increases in live weight of animals, improved growth
rates, increased feed intakes and improved feed conversions ratios and a stronger
resistance against diseases are the common results of these trials. By improving
immune function of animals, especially of young animals, RSP also reduce the
incidence of enteric disease and diarrhea.
Mass livestock production and confined animal husbandry throughout the globe
has had undesirable impacts on the nature of animals, i.e. the natural development of
animals and their immune systems, and to treat diseases sub-therapeutic and
therapeutic antibiotics have been used extensively as growth promoters in livestock
production. Recently, however, the negative effects of such growth promoters and
therapeutic antibiotics on animal and human health has been questioned.
As a result of increasing consumer pressure and in particular concerns about
increased microbial resistance to antibiotics, a ban on the use of antibiotic growth
promoters in animal feed has been already introduced in Germany recently. Already
back in 1998, the European Union had banned antibiotics important in human medicine
from use as growth promoters in livestock production. Other countries, including USA,
have and are making sincere efforts to accomplish same.
There is considerable evidence that antibiotic arsenals are being depleted due to
the development of resistant organisms. The more microorganisms that become
resistant to antibiotics, the greater the risk of a resurgence of untreatable infectious
diseases. The overuse of antibiotics not only in human medicine but also in livestock
feeding is the major cause of antibiotic resistance in food borne illness.
Almost 80% of antibiotics used in animal husbandry today are not used to treat
sick animals, but merely to promote efficient growth of chickens, cows, pigs and
There is a number of animal feed additives in the market currently that do not
contain any antibiotic antimicrobial substances. These are mainly probiotics, prebiotics,
postbiotics enzyme, plant essential oils, extracts and organic acids All are presently
enjoying a resurgence of interest following the EU-wide ban on antibiotics and US and
worldwide consumer demands.
Probiotics providing beneficial microorganisms to the natural microflora of the
digestive system. Probiotics, prebiotics and postbiotics have beneficial effects on the
immune system of animals. But limited astringent effects on the mucous membrane of
the gastero-intestinal tract.
Plant extracts are believed to be beneficial for the digestive system, Organic
acids also have shown positive results.
RSP improves diet digestibility as a result of maintaining optimum pH within the
gut, resulting in lower levels of nitrogen excretion and less odour. By improving
digestibility and food utilization, RSP improve gastric and intestinal conditions of
animals, as well as improving physical and financial performance, RSP also has a
positive impact on the environment by improving digestibility of feed nitrogen utilization
and manure management.
Replacing antibiotics with RSP as animal feed supplement leads to increased
milk production and increased butterfat percentage in dairy cows. Using RSP is also
resulted in improved feed efficiency, decreased feed costs, reduced fly population and
reduced cost for insect control. Furthermore, the weaning weights increased and faster
weight gains are observed in dairy cows, while problems with scours greatly decreased.
Also, RSP improved the animal's resistance against stress factors such as heat.
One of the most beneficial effects of RSP on animals is the overall immune
response increase in animals. By improving immune functions in the animal, RSP is
able to reduce the incidence of diarrhea and other digestive upsets to a considerable
extent as well as to improve the animal's defenses against pathogens such as E.coli,
Salmonella and other opportunists gut pathogens.
RSP is able to form a protective film on the mucous epithelium of the
gastrointestinal tract against infections and toxins. The macro colloidal structure of RSP
ensures a good shielding on the mucous membrane of the stomach and gut, the
peripheral capillaries and damaged mucous cells. As a result of this process, the
resorption of toxic metabolites is reduced or fully prevented, especially after infections,
in case of residues of harmful substances in animal feed or when feed switches are
made. RSP also helps to prevent excessive loss of water via the intestine.
RSP has the ability to influence in particular the metabolism of proteins and
carbohydrates of microbes by catalytic means. This leads to a direct devastating effect
against bacteria cells or virus particles. A second mechanism is related to the inter
ionic bonds of high-molecular protein fractions (toxins) of infectious microbes. Their
toxic impact on physiological processes of mucous membrane cells can be weakened
considerably or even blocked completely.
Dermal, oral or subcutaneous application of RSP leads to inhibitory effects on
inflammation. The ability to inhibit inflammation is believed to be related with the
flavonoid groups contained in RSP.
As high-molecular RSP remain in the gastro-intestinal tract almost entirely
following the enteral application (there is no self-resorption), antiresorptive and
adsorptive effects take place where they are needed in the digestive tract. Primarily
cationoid noxes (protein toxins, toxic substances) are fixed, their resorption is reduced
considerably or even prevented completely and their elimination through faces is
promoted. As adsorption by RSP includes not only physical and chemical reactions, but
also complex formation and ion-exchange, it is more intensive and dynamic compared
to pure physical adsorbents.
RSP stimulates the resistance forces of the body and leads to an increase in
phagocytosis activity. This inducer effect is believed to be due to the phenolic
components in RSP and is the basis for the success of the treatment of the so-called
factor diseases in young animals.
RSP stabilize the intestinal flora and thus ensures an improved utilization of
nutrients in animal feed (improved feed efficiency). This leads to an increased in live
weight of the animal without increasing the amount of feed given to the animal.
RSP is purely natural. Its use in animal feed excludes any possibility of antibiotic
residue or microbial resistance. Simultaneously, as a result of a improved food
conversion rate and enhanced absorption of nitrogen by the animal, nitrogenous wastes
and odour are reduced. vHumic substances in Reed-Sedge Peat, such as humic,
fulvic, ulmic acids and humins are major naturally occurring biological components.
RSP also contains stable hunified substances, such as hemicellulose, cellulose, lignin,
pectins, bitumens, waxes, resins, nitrogenous materials, lipids, amino acids, organic
sulfur, non-saturated and saturated fatty acids, various types of carbohydrates, ethereal
oils, balsam, bioterin and tannic actd (Andriessc, 1985; Hruska, 1988; Rieda, 1992;
Banaszkiewiez and Drobnik, 1994)