Feed Strategy - June 2018 - 44
44 ❙ FeedStrategy
IN ANIMALS CONSUMING RAW fava beans,
increased mortality is to be expected among
populations with genetic predisposition to favism.
The colored-flower varieties of
fava beans contain more tannins,
which are bitter compounds and
are not destroyed easily. Tannins
(usually about 0.3 to 0.5 percent in
fava beans) reduce feed intake per
se, and depress digestibility of protein and energy. Not all tannins are
necessarily bad, and perhaps a minor amount can even be beneficial
under certain conditions, but again,
this requires further investigation.
For the moment, white-flower va-
rieties of fava beans are the ones
recommended for replacing higher
levels of soybean meal.
Favism and vicine?
Favism is an inborn error of metabolism that affects about 1 percent
of the global human population,
and more than 10 percent in areas
that have historically suffered from
malaria. It is characterized by a
deficiency (G6PDD). This enzyme
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controls the production of a most
powerful internal antioxidant: glutathione peroxidase. Following
a specific trigger, symptoms like
jaundice (yellow skin) and dark
urine develop, followed by hemolytic anemia that can lead to death.
In essence, red blood cells simply
die because they cannot cope with
the production of oxidative free
radicals as their G6PDD enzyme is
inhibited leading to oxidative "asphyxia." Such problems can be triggered by many causes, one of them
being fava beans, hence the name of
this genetic anomaly. It is speculated
that similar genetic anomaly exists
in animals, again those that have
historically been exposed to malaria. At the moment, it is unknown
the spread of this problem in farm
animals, but it might be worth exploring it as modern poultry and pig
genetics are controlled by a handful
of genetics companies.
Vicine, from which fava beans
take their Latin name, is an alkaloid glycoside. It is the causative
factor of favism and is considered a
toxin. It is found in relatively high
levels in fava beans, less in peas and
negligible amounts in soybeans.
There are also other compounds in
fava beans with similar toxicity divicine, covicine and isouramil. There
is no known antidote to these toxins,
www.WATTAgNet.com ❙ June 2018