Niacin and Niacinamide Differentiation

  • Introduction

    Premixes and compound feed must match high quality and safety standards defined by regulatory authorities and the feed industry. In order to meet these standards, premix and feed manufacturers require access to feed additives that support their quality and safety expectations.

    Lonza launched commercial production of Niacin more than 40 years ago. Since the very beginning, we have been committed to serving the market with safe, high-quality vitamin B3 products. In order to meet and exceed the health and safety expectations, we continuously survey the needs of our customers. In addition, to satisfy the ever-changing regulatory requirements we employ an internal expert group to maintain close contact with governmental and non-governmental authorities worldwide. We believe that our Niacin and Niacinamide not only meet key global regulatory requirements, but also exceed our customers’ expectations as essential ingredients in the high quality feed products they produce.

    To connect our production and supply capabilities with the needs of our customers Lonza recently conducted an extensive survey and evaluation process. First we identified cost relevant customer needs and requirements. Then we translated customer needs into technical attributes (chemical and physical parameters) which help to determine the characteristics of a feed additive like vitamin B3. Finally we analyzed our own Niacin and Niacinamide products as well as commercial nicotinic acid and nicotinamide products from other suppliers based on approximately twenty chemical and physical parameters. This brochure provides summarized results of this study and serves to increase industry awareness about the differences that exist between vitamin B3 products obtained through Lonza versus other manufacturers.

     

    Customer Needs

    To create a project that is meaningful to our customers, we not only relied on our own long lasting experience in the feed industry, but we also cross-checked the quality requirements in interviews with our customers. We identified seven criteria clusters to which the feed industry expects that the quality requirements of feed additives will have an impact. We refer to these as the Customer Needs Clusters and they consist of:

    • High content in active ingredient
    • Safe for animals and consumers
    • Worker’s comfort
    • Plant safety
    • Easy handling in the feed manufacturing processes
    • Supports even mixing and prevents segregation
    • High chemical compatibility with other components in the mixture

     

  • Explanation of Customer Needs Clusters

    High Content in Active Ingredient

    In general, customers expect a high concentration of active substances in feed additives. For straight vitamin B3 this translates into a goal of a final assay as close to 100 % as possible.

     

    Safe for Animals and Consumers

    The safety of the Niacin and Niacinamide we offer to the market is of utmost importance to everyone in the value chain. In general one can state that the higher the assay on nicotinic acid and nicotinamide, the less space is available for known and unknown impurities. From a scientific point of view impurities can further be distinguished by separating harmless from critical impurities. It is the responsibility of each ingredient manufacturer to assess the impurities in their products and minimize the amount of critical impurities.

     

    Worker’s Comfort

    From the perspective of feed additives, the major focus for ensuring worker’s comfort is to minimize their exposure to dust (skin / eye irritation, inhalation exposure). Of course, this also depends on the degree of mechanization and the particular feed / premix manufacturing equipment being used. The preferred feed ingredient has a low level of dust with the goal of being dust-free. Thus, a low concentration of dust in the product and a low rate of attrition or abrasion of the particles are desirable. If the feed additive contains more than one percent of particles smaller than fifty micrometers, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) requires (in the registration process) data on dust potential (Stauber-Heubach test), exposure assessments and in critical cases inhalation toxicity tests.

     

    Plant Safety

    From the perspective of feed additives, the main risks associated with plant safety are related to the outbreak of fire and explosion caused by dust. From a technical point of view, the size of the dust particles is important because the surface area is exposed to heat and oxygen. Smaller particles expose a larger surface area to oxygen and heat compared to larger particles when expressed on a per gram of dust basis. Thus, products with less fine particles would be more desirable. To evaluate the risk for explosion of a combustible powder often the volume (electrical) resistivity or the tendency for electrostatic charging is measured. As a rule of thumb, the higher the volume resistivity of the combustible powder, the higher the risk for explosion of its dust. In this survey, to determine the impact on plant safety, we considered volume resistivity, product moisture levels and the amount of fine particles smaller than fifty micrometers.

     

    Easy Handling in the Feed Manufacturing Processes

    To evaluate the ease of handling in the feed manufacturing processes, we addressed parameters that dictate whether silos, bins, mixers, and other feed handling equipment can be filled and emptied without any problems. Examples of some technical attributes that might impact handling of feed ingredients are:

    • Particle size distribution1
    • Particle shape
    • Moisture
    • Hygroscopicity
    • Flowability (e.g. assessed as angle of repose and Jenike flow factors)
    • Susceptibility to caking

     

    Supports Even Mixing and Prevents Segregation

    An even mixing and the prevention of segregation are of economic interest for both feed manufacturers and farm operations. In order to describe this requirement the industry relies mainly on physical parameters such as:

    • Particle size distribution1
    • Compressibility2
    • Bulk density
    • Flowability (e.g. assessed as angle of repose and Jenike flow factors)

     

    High Chemical Compatibility with Other Components in the Mixture

    The ideal feed additive does not negatively interact with other components in the formulation. Such undesirable chemical interactions may lead to the oxidation and / or inactivation of other ingredients, and possibly the formation of salts. Salts increase the hygroscopicity of the mixture and result in excess moisture accumulation which in turn will promote the occurrence of lumpiness and caking. Moisture, acidity and the content of potassium- and sodium-B3 salts are known to increase the risk for negative interactions with other components.

    1 The ideal particle size distribution for vitamins would be in the range of 100 to 300 micrometers.
    2 The compressibility expresses the ratio of untapped versus tapped volume. The preferred product specification has 2 no difference between untapped and
    tapped volume.

  • Technical Attributes of Vitamin B3 Products and Their Impact on Customer Needs

    A large number of technical attributes affect the customer needs and requirements. Most of them affect more than one. Table 1 reflects the relevant technical attributes that were considered in the present survey and their relationship to the defined customer needs clusters. A high score is associated with a high degree of impact or correlation whereas a lower score signifies a lower degree of association. Areas with no value signify that there is no defined correlation between the respective technical attribute and the customer needs cluster.

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  • Approach and Findings

    In this survey commercial vitamin B3 products from a series of manufacturers were analyzed and assessed in Lonza’s in-house labs as well as external third party labs. In order to facilitate the comparison of the product sources, a grid or ranking scale for the lab data was established. Then the individual product ranking for each technical attribute was converted into a neutral scale. An arbitrary scale was used where six signifies the most desirable outcome and one, the least desirable outcome. Figure 1 and figure 2 reflect the findings for both nicotinic acid and nicotinamide products in a condensed manner. The diagrams show the Lonza products Niacin and Niacinamide and the range where the non-Lonza products were ranked.

    Figure 1 Vitamin B3 Products Based on Nicotinic Acid and Their Match to Customer Needs ( Click to enlarge)

     Ratings are an arbitrary scale where 6 signifies the most desirable outcome and 1 signifies the least desirable outcome.

     

    High Content in Active Ingredient

    Nicotinic acid and nicotinamide are supplied to the feed industry in highly concentrated forms and as a result the closer the content of active B3 is to 100 % the more desirable. Our analysis showed that the variability in analyzed vitamin B3 content is much wider for nicotinamide than for nicotinic acid when comparing different suppliers. Lonza had the highest level of nicotinamide while other suppliers showed a wide variation in content. For nicotinic acid, Lonza again had the highest content, however there was less variation among suppliers.

    Safe for Animals and Consumers

    The safety of the feed additives (including vitamin B3) offered to the market is of utmost importance for both animals and consumers. Manufacturers are requested to measure and to assess the impurity levels in their products. In the present survey our analysis revealed a broad variation in the concentration of critical impurities. Lonza’s Niacin and Niacinamide were the safest products in this respect.

    Worker’s Comfort

    Authorities such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) consider the exposure of workers to dust as a major concern. The ideal product has a low level of dust, preferably no dust. According to EFSA, particles smaller than fifty micrometers are rated as critical. Hence, in this survey we considered the percentage of fines as the most important factor in view of the worker’s comfort. In this survey the vitamin B3 products revealed a high variance in the percentage of small particles. Based on the results, Lonza’s Niacin and Niacinamide are ranked among the most desirable products.

    Plant Safety

    Plant safety should consider all aspects related to the physical assets (like machinery and buildings) as well as a heavy focus on worker safety. When considering feed additives, the main risk impacting plant safety is related to fire and explosion and it is generally recognized that fine combustible particles are the major contributor to this risk. Beside the amount of fine particles, the feed additive’s tendency for electrostatic charging is of importance as well. A strong tendency for electrostatic charging may potentiate the risk of explosions, whereas moisture would mitigate this risk. In order to assess the nicotinate products in this survey we considered the amount of fine particles (particles <50 micrometers), their volume resistivity, moisture and the particle size distribution. Hence, products containing fewer fine particles and showing a lower volume resistivity would be more desirable. Again, Lonza’s vitamin B3 showed a favorable ranking in comparison to other sources in this survey.

    Easy Handling in the Feed Manufacturing Processes

    Ease of handling of feed ingredients in the feed manufacturing process is extremely important for optimal feed production. Factors such as particle size and shape, moisture content, and susceptibility to caking all impact an ingredient’s ability to properly flow from the original packaging, through the feed or premix manufacturing equipment, and eventually to promote the proper dispersion within the feed. Our analysis Ratings are an arbitrary scale where 6 signifies the most desirable outcome and 1 signifies the least desirable outcome. Figure 2 Vitamin B3 Products Based on Nicotinamide and Their Match to Customer Needs suggests that both nicotinic acid and nicotinamide sourced from different suppliers will differ in their abilities to promote easy handling in the feed manufacturing process. For both nicotinic acid and nicotinamide, Lonza’s products were among the best to support easy handling during the feed manufacturing process.

    Supports Even Mixing and Prevents Segregation

    No single factor can fully explain differences leading to the possibility of segregation in a premix. By conducting interviews with industry professionals and consulting industry guidelines, we established that factors such as coarse particles, mean particle size, compressibility and the Jenike flow factor consolidated all have a high level of influence on product segregation in the premix. Technical attributes that influence segregation to a lesser extent would include fine particles, particle size width, bulk density, angle of repose, Jenike flow factor and hygroscopicity. Our evaluation suggests that segregation in premixes could be different among vitamin B3 sources, with Lonza’s Niacin and Niacinamide having one of the most desirable rankings. This means that the Lonza products have one of the lowest chances to segregate from the premix which in turn means that distribution within the premix and the final finished feed will be optimal. Ultimately, this means that every bite of feed that the chicken, pig, turkey, etc. eats should have the desired amount of Vitamin B3 needed to support the production goals.

     Figure 2 Vitamin B3 Products Based on Nicotinamide and Their Match to Customer Needs ( Click to enlarge)

    Ratings are an arbitrary scale where 6 signifies the most desirable outcome and 1 signifies the least desirable outcome.

     

    High Chemical Compatibility with Other Components in the Mixture

    Differences exist between sources of nicotinic acid and nicotinamide when evaluating their compatibility with other components of a premix. The low moisture and hygroscopic tendencies of Lonza’s Niacin and Niacinamide allow them to be highly compatible with other components in the premix.

     

     

     

     

     

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  • Conclusion

    Based on these results, commercial samples of vitamin B3 sourced from different suppliers vary to a larger extent than commonly expected. It is important to critically evaluate the chemical and technical parameters of the product sourced from different suppliers. Our analysis suggests that Lonza’s Niacin and Niacinamide are products that most consistently meet the needs of customers.