Monogastrics – effect of emulsifiers
Emulsifiers are often added to diets to improve digestibility of dietary fat due to their amphiphilic properties which reduce the size of fat droplets in the small intestine thereby increasing the surface area and aiding formation of micelles (Figure 1).
Figure 1 Mechanism of lecithin action
Lecithin phospholipids are commonly used, designated as phosphatidyl choline, phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylinositol. Lecithin is particularly useful where fat digestion is compromised due to poor gut health, where diets with low unsaturated : saturated fatty acid ratios are used, and with broilers compared to other species.