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Mechanism of action, benefits, and research gap in fermented soybean meal utilization as a high-quality protein source for livestock and poultry

Lambo, M., H. Ma, H. Zhang, P. Song, H. Mao, G, Cui, B. Dai. Y. Li a and Y. Zhang

Animal nutritionists have incessantly worked towards providing livestock with high-quality plant protein feed resources. Soybean meal (SBM) has been an essential and predominantly adopted vegetable protein source in livestock feeding for a long time; however, several SBM antinutrients could potentially impair the animal’s performance and growth, limiting its use. Several processing methods have been employed to remove SBM antinutrients, including fermentation with fungal or bacterial microorganisms. According to the literature, fermentation, a traditional food processing method, could improve SBM’s nutritional and functional properties, making it more suitable and beneficial to livestock. The current interest in health-promoting functional feed, which can enhance the growth of animals, improve their immune system, and promote physiological benefits more than conventional feed, coupled with the ban on the use of antimicrobial growth promoters, has caused a renewed interest in the use of fermented SBM (FSBM) in livestock diets. This review details the mechanism of SBM fermentation and its impacts on animal health and discusses the recent trend in the application and emerging advantages to livestock while shedding light on the research gap that needs to be critically addressed in future studies. FSBM appears to be a multifunctional high-quality plant protein source for animals. Besides removing soybean antinutrients, beneficial bioactive peptides and digestive enzymes are produced during fermentation, providing probiotics, antioxidants, and immunomodulatory effects.

Critical aspects regarding FSBM feeding to animals remain uncharted, such as the duration of fermentation, the influence of feeding on digestive tissue development, choice of microbial strain, and possible environmental impact.