Lecithins are commonly used as cheap energy source. However, lysolecithins have much stronger properties and have the potential to improve animal productivity and increase production profitability.
Under a specific time, temperature and pressure lecithins are mixed with enzymes. During this unique process, enzymes cleave one (fatty acid) tail from lecithin: creating lysolecithins.
Native lecithins vs lysolecithins
Both lysolecithin and native lecithin are amphiphilic molecules. Amphiphilic means that the molecule has a water-loving and fat-loving side. The head group is water-loving and the fatty acid tails are fat-loving.
As lecithins have two fatty acid tails, they are relatively more fat-loving opposed to lysolecithins with only one fatty acid tail. This means lysolecithins are comparably more water-loving.
Fat digestion is a real challenge for young animals, as they do not produce sufficient bile acid for proper emulsification. Without that, dietary fat cannot effectively be used and digestive problems may develop.
Feed products that improve emulsification are a welcome addition to feed formulations. In the example below a visual representation of emulsification is shown. This simple test demonstrates that native lecithin clearly creates a ‘’gummy’’ formation of fat. Whereas a small amount of lysolecithin has the capability to create a proper emulsification, equally distributing fat throughout the water.
Lysolecithins emulsify fats into smaller fat droplets, resulting in an increased surface area allowing easier enzymatic hydrolysis of fat. Lysolecithins also improve the potential of digestive enzymes, as the presence of fat forms a barrier that inhibits the access of enzymes to various proteins and starches in the digestive tract.
Improve permeability of the intestinal cell wall
Cell membrane wall structures are typically made up out of phospholipids, equipped with two fatty acid tails. Lysolecithins, also classified as lysophospholipids, only have one fatty acid tail and are able to interfere with these phospholipids by easily diffusing into the cell membranes. This enlarges the distance between cell wall molecules. Allowing easier passage of nutrients through the villi membrane, leading to better absorption of nutrients.
The image below visually demonstrates an enlarged distance between villi cell wall molecules where lysolecithins are applied. These single tail molecules leave more space, allowing easier passage of nutrients.
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