Functional properties of the yeast cell wall against pathogens

Hydrolyzed Yeast Cell Wall (MOS)

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Over the past few decades, the use of antibiotics has been successful in animal health and production. However, scientific evidence suggests that their heavy use has led to increased antibiotic resistance. An alternative that has similar effects to antibiotics is the functional properties of yeast cell walls.

Consumer pressure and concerns about the harmful effects of antibiotics have prompted researchers to consider alternatives to keep animals healthy and efficient. One alternative to natural drugs with similar effects to antibiotics is the use of the functional properties of yeast cell walls (YCW).

Yeast Cell Walls

The YCW is derived from a yeast extraction process and comprises 25% of the total cells. It has a complex structure, consisting mainly of cell wall proteins or mannoproteins, glucans, chitin and N-acetylglucosamine. The main products of YCW are mannan oligosaccharides (MOS) and beta-glucans (BG). They are involved in a variety of functions such as reducing pathogenic bacteria, enhancing beneficial bacteria, increasing villi height, reducing crypt depth, and modulating immune response to improve health and performance.

Yeast Cell Wall

Beneficial contribution of MOS

It is understood that the animal’s digestive tract needs a balanced flora to function properly and MOS helps to reduce the load of pathogenic bacteria and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. Adhesion of bacteria harmful to animals occurs through type 1 hairs containing mannose-specific lectins (e.g., Salmonella and E. coli) with high affinity for the intestinal mucosa. MOS works by binding to type 1 hairs, so the bacteria can move through the intestine without colonizing. The researchers showed that E. coli, Salmonella, Salmonella typhimurium and Salmonella Dublin were reduced when the animals were fed MOS. More importantly, the researchers observed an increase over time in the synthesis of cupped cells, which are present in the villi of the intestine. These cells are responsible for secreting mucins that bind competitively with bacteria and support the clearance of pathogens from the intestine. As a result, there is an increase in the number of beneficial bacteria in the intestine, mainly Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Each of these beneficial bacteria has a method of reducing pathogenic bacteria.


As part of a healthy intestinal environment, researchers have observed long villi and shallow crypt foci. The larger surface area aids in nutrient absorption, while the lower renewal rate allows for efficient enzyme production and maturation of intestinal cells. Fermentation may increase, leading to the production of short-chain fatty acids involved in cell proliferation in the intestinal mucosa. It can be seen to enhance nutrient absorption and improve performance.

Another potential role is to enhance cellular, humoral and mucosal immunity. There are multiple macrophages in the intestine as part of the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) that recognize pathogens through a unique type of molecule present only on microorganisms called the “pathogen-associated molecular pattern” (PAMP), which is present in the MOS and other YCW components. Thus, MOS binds to the PAMP receptor present on GALT defense cells, which then triggers the immune system.

Gastrointestinal Health and Beta-Glucan

β-glucans are a heterogeneous group of naturally occurring polysaccharides consisting of D-glucose monomers linked by β-glycosidic bonds, with individual glucose subunits linked primarily through (1,3)-β, (1,4)-β, or (1,6)-β glycosidic bonds. However, the manufacturing process and isolation method can affect the structure and function of BG. Researchers have demonstrated that 1,3/1,6BG has positive effects on immunity and when used as a broad-spectrum immune enhancer, it may improve gastrointestinal health by increasing mucosal barrier function and promoting animal growth. BG may have a significant impact on the composition of the gut microbiota, which not only aids in digestion, but may also directly and indirectly support the immune activity of GALT. In addition, researchers have reported other health benefits, such as anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, hepatoprotective, weight loss, anti-diabetic and cholesterol-lowering properties. Researchers have shown that BGs are degraded and released within macrophages, which allows them to eventually be used in the circulatory system and distributed systemically. Induction of phagocytic activity, oxidative metabolism of neutrophils and monocytes, production of interleukin (IL)-1 by neutrophils and monocytes in peritoneal macrophages, decreased levels of pro-inflammatory IL-6 and increased levels of anti-inflammatory IL- 10. Despite this, an increase in total monocytes as well as total pro-inflammatory monocytes has been observed, with increased plasma cytokine IL-2, IL-4, IL-5 and interferon -γ production, increased humoral acute phase immunity through lysozyme and copper blue protein activity. In addition to this, it is important to note that insoluble BG activates both innate and adaptive immune responses, while soluble β-glucan is most effective through the complement system.

The product is based on mannan oligosaccharide (MOS) and β-glucan. They are both derivatives of yeast primary cultures (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and produce cells with higher compound and functional availability. It was shown that the efficiency of MOS and β-glucan does not depend directly on their percentage in the product, but mainly on their production process, which is essential to ensure adequate MOS and β-glucan exposure and functionality.

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