Aspergillus oryzae: A Toolbox for Animal Health

Aspergillus oryzae is a multi-cellular, filamentous fungi that has deep roots in Chinese and Japanese culture, where it has been used for centuries to make sake, soy sauce and other fermented foods. Now, A. oryzae is making its mark on animal agriculture, too. It all started back in the 1940s when H.E. Kistner discovered, and subsequently patented, a direct-fed microbial produced from a select strain of A. oryzae, which would come to be known as Amaferm®, now a registered trademark of BioZyme®, Incorporated.

A. oryzae was, and still is today, a unique approach to direct fed microbials (DFMs) and prebiotics, a term which was not coined until nearly 50 years after Amaferm® was discovered. A. oryzae is a complex, very adaptable organism. As such, we see that A. oryzae has over 12,000 genes in its genome, which is approximately 30% more than other Aspergilli and nearly 60% as many genes as we see in humans and livestock. The A. oryzae genome contains unique secondary, dormant metabolic pathways. These inducible gene clusters are activated when the organism is under certain stressors and result in the production of unique metabolites, many of which have bioactivity that can subsequently improve the health status of animals when included in the feed.

This attribute provides a unique opportunity for A. oryzae to assist with a variety of challenges we face in animal agriculture, much like a good toolbox can assist a handyman with all the different types of jobs he may face. The greater the variety of possible metabolites, the more tools you have to address the challenge at hand. For example, one tool resulting from the fermentation of A. oryzae under certain controlled parameters is the production of bioactive compounds that increase nutrient absorption via passive transport. When we change the fermentation parameters, potentially activating and deactivating certain metabolic pathways, those bioactive compounds may no longer be present in the resulting product. But, perhaps new bioactive compounds that impact other facets of animal nutrition and health would then be produced.

The key to success is determining all the possible tools in this dynamic “AO” toolbox, and when to use each one in order to achieve the best result. The discovery and mechanistic research required to understand the dynamic capabilities of different A. oryzae fermentation products is something that is actively ongoing at BioZyme, Inc. to bring you the most innovative, precise feed additives that affordably impact production challenges. No matter the challenge at hand, we believe that A. oryzae has the right tool (bioactive compound) for the job.