CANADA - A Research Associate Nutrition with the Prairie Swine Centre says nutrition has a key role to play in reducing the livestock industry's dependence on antibiotics, writes Bruce Cochrane.
Increasing public concern over the possibility of antibiotic residues in food products as well as the possible transfer of resistance and an increase in microbial resistance to antibiotics that may be of importance to human heath has led to legislation regulating the use of antibiotics for growth promotion in feed.
Dr Dan Columbus, a Research Associate Nutrition with the Prairie Swine Centre, says as a result we need to look at alternatives to antibiotics.
Dr Dan Columbus-Prairie Swine Centre:
Nutrition plays a key role in improving the overall health of the animals and we know that a healthy animal, by necessity, requires less antibiotics so this is really one of our key strategies for improving the health of the animal and reducing our antibiotic usage.
There are a number of dietary compounds that have been looked for replacing in-feed antibiotics.
The mode of action for these depends on what you're trying to achieve.
We've looked at a number of nutrient compounds including Omega-3's and egg yolk antibodies as well as plasma which would enhance the immune response of the animal.
Nutrients to look at, reducing pathogen loads such as dietary acidifiers, plant extracts and prebiotics, stimulating the growth of beneficial gut microbes so prebiotics and probiotics and stimulating digestive function which could be a number of yeast products or even dietary enzymes to improve nutrient availability.
Dr Columbus notes the main mode of action for a number of these compounds is to improve the development, growth and stability of the gastrointestinal tract, making it less susceptible for pathogen invasion and pathogen induced illness as well as reducing the pathogen load in general, so reducing the total number of pathogens that could make these pigs sick.
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