Probiotics may help reduce antibiotic resistance in livestock

3-May-2022

A recent literature review has reportedly demonstrated the benefits of probiotics in livestock production

A recently-published article, written by researchers at the University of Bologna, has established bacillus-based probiotics as a potential strategy to help tackle the problem of antibiotic resistance. Probiotics may also reduce the incidence of post-weaning diarrhoea in pigs by up to 30% and mortality in broilers by 6-8%, the research suggests.

The review of 131 scientific articles evaluates the effectiveness of Bacillus strains as probiotics, and as a potential strategy for reducing the use of antibiotics in monogastric animals. According to researchers, the article confirms the positive effects of probiotics, also known as direct fed microbials (DFM), in young pigs and broilers. The microbes demonstrate an array of modes of action, including direct and indirect inhibition of potentially harmful organisms.

The findings support a growing global consensus on the need to reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock, as antibiotic resistance is rising in all parts of the world.

According to WHO, antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security and development today, and antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” are projected to kill more people than cancer by 2050.

The review includes potential modes of action, and the effects on the performance and health of pigs (weaned piglets, lactating and gestating sows) and broilers.

The conclusions reached suggest bacillus-based probiotics could:

  • Favour growth in terms of the average daily gain (ADG) of post-weaned piglets and broilers
  • Reduce the incidence of post-weaning diarrhea in pigs by 30%
  • Reduce mortality in broilers by 6-8%

“Basically, this thorough review confirms the power of good bacteria,” states Kim Muller Christensen, Senior Vice President, Animal & Plant Health, Chr. Hansen, underlining that it includes several strains and products and not only those offered by the global bioscience leader itself.

“We have been working with natural ingredients to improve food and health for almost 150 years. We believe that microbial challenges require microbial solutions, which in turn enable producers to boost their efficiency and profitability in a sustainable way, favouring animal welfare and less use of antibiotics.”

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“This review illustrates the strength of probiotics and lifts the entire category, supporting our data and products towards segments that are still not convinced of the beneficial effects. We believe it is a testimony to the value of scientific research, a classic Chr. Hansen stronghold. The majority of our product innovations stem from our strong platforms in bioscience technologies, including our large collection of bacterial strains, numbering more than 40,000.”

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