‘Controlled fermentation’ – a feeding concept for pigs with diverse effects of veterinary interest!
Kamphues J., Bunte S., Grone R.

Prof. Dr. Josef Kamphues

Institute of Animal Nutrition
University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover – Foundation
Bischofsholer Damm 15, D-30173 Hannover


Josef Kamphues was born in Saerbeck (Westfalia, Germany) in 1952. He studied Agricultural Science at the University of Bonn (Dipl. Ing. agr. Animal Production) and thereafter Veterinary Medicine in Hannover (Vet. Degree). After obtaining his doctoral degree and habilitation, he became Professor and Head of the Institute for Animal Nutrition at the Free University of Berlin in 1990. Three years later, he moved back to Hannover as the Director of the Institute for Animal Nutrition at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation. Josef Kamphues is a Dipl. ECVCN and Dipl. ECPHM. Since 2019, he retired from the official position but still engaged in research as he was during his whole career. He focused on feeding strategies against gastric ulcers/Salmonella in pigs, foot pad dermatitis in broilers/turkeys at different dietary treatments, quality/standards in drinking water for food producing animals, pancreatic duct ligated pigs for studies on human exocrine pancreatic insufficiency; feeds and feeding for special purposes (dietetics), re-evaluation of rye for swine diets, etc.

Prof. Kamphues is member of the Society of Nutrition Physiology, European Society of Veterinary and Comparative Nutrition; the European College of Pig Health Management; the German Committee for Setting Requirement Standards of the Society of Nutrition Physiology; chief editor of the German Journal: Übersichten zur Tierernährung; member of the editorial board of different scientific veterinary journals

He was awarded with “James G. Morris Lectureship in Companion Animal Nutrition” (University of California, Davis) in 2012 and the  Main prize/award of the Henneberg-Lehmann-Foundation (University of Göttingen, Germany) in 2014.


‘Controlled fermentation‘is a specific type of feeding liquid diets which are fermented for about 24 hours by lactic acid producing bacteria added at the process’ start, at a temperature of about 37 °C before offered to pigs. This pretreatment of the main ingredients including cereals and protein sources like canola meal (solvent extracted) aims at favored palatability and digestibility of distinct nutrients, at reducing levels/activity of undesirable constituents (like phytate, glucosinolates), at elimination of microbial contaminants (pathogens like Salmonella), and finally at the use of the fermented liquid diet like a probiotic (lactic acid producing bacteria) and as a source of  lactic acid substituting other organic acids (like formic acid as feed additive) used for dietetic purposes.

Regarding the emission of nitrogen and phosphorus there are welcome effects due to the increased digestibility of protein and phosphorus; furthermore during the fermentation process high shares of phytate (using rye for fermentation: almost complete phytate degradation), non-starch polysaccharides and glucosinolates are degraded. Also it is worth to be mentioned that the high lactic acid content in liquid diets results in marked reduction (elimination of bacterial contaminants in the feed and infectious bacteria in the pig’s GIT like E. coli, Salmonella ssp., C. perfringens). But there are also some unintended effects/changes during fermentation: On the one side a loss of ‘structure’ in the diet is occurring, i. e. high shares of particles ≤ 0.2 mm. This means elevated risks for gastric ulcers in pigs fed fermented liquid diets in high shares. Gastric ulcers can be prevented by using non-fermented, rolled cereals in liquid diets which in parts are based on fermented ingredients. Furthermore, in spite of high lactic acid levels and very low pH-values (< pH 3.8 – 4.0), in the liquid feed/diets sometimes high counts/activities of yeasts might occur. Regarding the economic effects the fermentation process needs technical equipment and energy for heating the water/to maintain optimum conditions for fermentation (fast reduction of pH!). There are additional costs, e. g. for the microorganisms for starting the process or for cleaning the fermenters. From an economical point of view it has to be emphasized that the feeding costs might be reduced by using cheap ingredients instead of expensive ones (like a combination of rye and canola meal instead of wheat and soybean meal).