What is Oligo Essential made of and what are the active components?
Oligo Essential is a combination of two functional oils; castor oil and cashew nut shell liquid (not the nut itself). The active components are ricinoleic acid, cardol, and cardanol. Ricinoleic acid comes from castor oil, with cardol and cardanol coming from cashew nut shell liquid. Vermiculite (silica) is used as a carrier.
What are the modes of action?
Ricinoleic acid is a naturally occurring divalent ionophore (affecting cations with +2 charge), disturbing and ultimately destroying the cell walls of gram-­‐positive bacteria and protozoa. Ricinoleic acid also has anti-­‐inflammatory properties. Cardol is a naturally occurring monovalent ionophore as described above, although affecting cations with a +1 charge. Cardol and Cardanol are both very powerful antioxidants that help to reduce free radicals.
How do I know that the results are going to be consistent?
The levels of ricinoleic acid, cardol and cardanol get tested in the raw materials, during manufacturing, and of course in the final product. Using NIRS (near infrared spectroscopy) the levels of these three active components can even be tested after it has been mixed in feed.
What kind of certifications are associated with the product and its manufacturing?
Oligo Basics Agroindustria Ltda. has received the FAMI-­‐QS Certification, a more stringent and feed additive/premix specific version of GMP.
How is Oligo Essential different than other phytogenics (essential oils)?
Phytogenics, or essential oils, can be easily confused with Oligo Essential due to the name and that both are plant based. However, phytogenics are made from herbs and spices with some of the  most common being: thyme, rosemary, cinnamon, chili, and oregano. The active components of these ingredients are usually not standardized, which results in inconsistent and unreliable performance. The functional oils in Oligo Essential are able to pass through the stomach and target the intestinal tract, where the microbial challenge is, whereas some phytogenics get broken down in the stomach.
Are there any risks of inclusion (toxicity, etc.)?
There has been no evidence or indications of toxicity or risk with over-­‐dosing with Oligo Essential. The castor bean plant is occasionally associated with the toxin ricin, however ricin is hydrophilic (water affinity) whereas castor oil is lipophilic (oil affinity). The process used to get castor oil eliminates ricin from contaminating the oil. Castor oil is also a common ingredient for many cosmetic products, as well as used as a laxative on its own.
Will I see any laxative effects? What will I notice in feces quality?
Quite the contrary, there will be a positive effect on feces quality. Oligo Essential has a dosage of castor oil that can maintain its biological activity, without having a laxative effect. Between the decrease in microbial challenge and improved nutrient absorption, the feces will be drier and less odorous. Improvement in feces is commonly the first observed sign of activity after supplementing Oligo Essential.
Can I include Oligo Essential with other feed ingredients?
Feed ingredients like acidifiers, pre/pro/syn-­‐biotics, or enzymes can be included at the same time with no counter-­‐indications. Oligo Essential was developed to replace the need for antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) but therapeutic treatments with antibiotics will occasionally be needed. The animal’s response to an antibiotic treatment will be improved with Oligo Essential due to improved overall health and immune response.
While including Oligo Essential into the diet, can other ingredients be reduced or removed?
The activity in Oligo Essential has been shown (published in the Journal of Applied Poultry Research) to be able to reduce the amount of metabolizable energy in broiler diets. A reduction of up to 100kcal can be removed from all stages of the broiler diet, with a current recommendation to remove at least 50kcal. The reduction in energy is not intended for cost saving purposes, but for improved FCR and growth performance. Table egg layers can reduce up to 90kcal or 3 grams of feed per day.
Oligo Essential has activity against Eimeria, should I remove my coccidiostat(s)?
Although Oligo Essential has shown to have anti-­‐protozoal activity against strains of Eimeria, there is no product that can deter all strains of Eimeria. Unless legislation requires it (e.g. South Korea) or it is the aim of the company to remove all antibiotics, we suggest keeping in the current coccidiostat for additional protection against Eimeria spp.
How stable are the active components of Oligo Essential? How should it be stored and what is the shelf life?
The activity of Oligo Essential can handle a 3 year shelf life from date of manufacturing. The product should be kept out of direct sunlight and avoid getting wet (high humidity has no effect). The active ingredients can also handle high temperatures and are unaffected by extrusion, even for dog food (at ~150C). Oligo Essential can undergo any processing for feed (pelleting, crumbles, extrusion, etc.) without losing activity or disrupting feed quality.
What is the recommended dosage of Oligo Essential and what species can it be fed to?
Oligo Essential can be fed to any commercial growing species of poultry (including chicken, turkey, and ducks), swine (sows, piglets, growers and boars), or ruminants (diary, beef, goats, etc). There has also been research on the application of Oligo Essential in thoroughbred horses and dogs as well. Further research is needed on the applicability of Oligo Essential in aquatic species.

Poultry: 1.5kg/MT of feed Swine: 2.0kg/MT of feed

Ruminants: 500g/MT of dry matter intake (5g/10kg of DMI)

Why are the inclusion rates different for different species?
The inclusion rates for the species have been chosen due to the biological requirements and further refined from trial results.
When should Oligo Essential be included in the diet?
Oligo Essential should be supplemented to the feed ration of any species at the earliest stage possible. Including the product in the early stages of life will increase the probability of a healthy and well performing animal throughout its lifespan. The longer Oligo Essential is included in the diet, the better performance the animal will have.

When added to parent stock feed rations, in any species, the resulting offspring will be healthier and off to a better start. We have seen that the inclusion of Oligo Essential in broiler breeders has alleviated a water heart issues (caused by vitamin E deficiency) in chicks, as well as heavier piglets with fewer treatments needed when given to sows.

When including in broiler breeder feed, Oligo Essential should be added 3 weeks after the last vaccination.

What are some of the production benefits that I should expect to see?
Of course each area of production is going to vary slightly in operation, managing, and performance, but with the consistent results coming in we can anticipate improvements in:

Broiler Breeders: Increased egg production, increased fertility, increased hatchability, decreased broken/cracked eggs, decreased dirty eggs, better chick performance.

Broilers: Increase in average daily gain, decrease in mortality, decrease in FCR, fewer days to target weight, better uniformity, higher percent yield, better carcass characteristics.

Layers: Better egg laying persistency, decreased cracked/broken eggs, decreased dirty eggs, decreased mortality, richer/darker yolks, longer shelf life.

Sows: Better body condition scores, increased fertility, fewer treatments, increased litter weight, decrease in litter treatments, quicker recovery.

Piglets: Increased weight gain, decreased mortality, better FCRs.

Growers: Increased weight gain, decreased mortality, better FCRs, improved carcass quality, increased yield.

Boars: Better semen quality, increased sperm count, increased semen volume, increased motility.

Dairy cattle: Increased milk production, improved fat content, improved protein content, decreased somatic cell count.

Beef cattle: Improved carcass quality, increased weight gain, improved FCRs, improved digestibility.

Bulls: Better semen quality, increased sperm count, increased semen volume, increased motility.