Dr. Imad Khan
Poultry production is a dynamic and well-organized sector in Pakistan contributing 1.3% to national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 6.3% to agricultural sector and 28% to total meat production. Poultry meat is a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals but has a low total fat content and higher unsaturated fatty acids; these features confer a beneficial effect on consumer health. However, the poultry sector plays an important role in minimizing the difference between supply and demand of energy/proteins requirement for common people across the country. In poultry feed, antibiotic growth promoters are used to enhance the production performance of birds but after the imposition of ban on antibiotics by the European Union, the researcher communities are focusing on safe, cheap, and alternative sources antibiotic growth promotersfor maintaining the function of the gut and immune system of chicken.
Trace minerals have significant role in boosting the production performance and regulating the immune system in chickens. Trace minerals are commonly included in broiler feed within limitation of their narrow range between beneficial dose and toxicity. Nanomaterials are small size particles that provide large active surface area (emulsifier), expansible catalytic potency, more surface-activecenters, and promising biological effects for both medication and nutrition. They are used in pharmaceuticals to surge the biological availability of drugs, transport-specific curative agents to specific organs, effectuate high uptake and showing greater absorption efficiencies.
In poultry feed, nano-selenium supplementation has several biological effects like promoting the production performance, improved feed conversion ratios (FCR), carcass characteristic and immunological activity in chickens. Selenium nanoparticles supplementation in broilers nutrition enhance the growth performance, maintain both the nutritional value and food quality by improving immune properties.Selenium is an important trace element exhibiting antiviralandantibacterialcharacteristics.
These health-promoting benefits of orally administered selenium nanoparticles can be further enhanced by loading them on biological carriers, which improves their stability and biological availability.Chitosan is a naturally occurring non-toxic, and biodegradable polysaccharide polymer derived from chitin. It can be used as a carrier to efficiently deliver the drugs and trace nano-minerals that otherwise have lower bioavailability in the gastrointestinal tract. Selenium nanoparticles can be loaded on the surface of chitosan thus producing the supplemental product (Selenium nanoparticles loaded to chitosan). This supplemental product has antioxidant activity, which has a significant impact on production performance, meat quality and biological activities.
Keeping in view the beneficial aspects of nanotechnology, I conducted an experiment under the kind guidance and supervision of Prof. Dr. Hafsa Zaneb, Chairperson, Department of Anatomy and Histology, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore. we prepared the selenium nanoparticles loaded to chitosan and studied their effects by adding them into the broiler’s diet. We got very promising results especially in terms of an improvement in the attributes that indicates the meat quality. Hence, this research suggests that Selenium nanoparticles loaded to chitosan can be used in the broiler’s diet to get healthy meat.