Incomplete destruction of phytate is compromising the profitability and sustainability of the animal feed industry, according to information presented at the second International Phytase Summit (IPS 2) in December. Hosted in Rome by AB Vista, the University of Sydney (Australia), University of Maryland (USA), Massey University (New Zealand) and Schothorst Feed Research (The Netherlands), IPS 2 welcomed more than 70 delegates from 18 countries and nearly 50 universities, institutes and companies. Collectively these delegates account for around a third of all scientific papers published on phytase research in the past few years. Under the summit’s overarching theme of “optimising the use of phytase”, presentations and open discussions covered a wide range of topics including: the formulation of animal feeds with phytase; the content and nutritional influence of phytate in animal feed; and the use of phytases to destroy phytate. Many interesting themes emerged, such as how to formulate diets according to animals’ mineral requirements, dietary phytate contents and the effect of phytases. This led to a discussion about the differences between phytases and their clearly varied abilities to degrade phytate and release minerals and nutrients. There was also extensive debate about the anti-nutritional effects of phytate and the use of “super doses” of specific phytases to make animal production more efficient by rapidly destroying phytate in the foregut. Finally, the summit explored the role phytate and phytase play in animal health and welfare, and on the sustainability and efficiency of animal production in general. Dr Mike Bedford, Research Director, AB Vista, said: "A number of novel and exciting hypotheses were floated at IPS 2, including that phytate may be an enemy in the intestines but desirable in the body. It is clear that research into many new areas is warranted and that not all the benefits of phytase use have been unearthed and explained."