Pre-biotic effect helps to reduce ZAP scores

UK - Salmonella bio-security can be enhanced by optimising gut health in weaners – it can also improve salmonella ZAP scores.
calendar icon 4 May 2007
clock icon 3 minute read
Gut development in the weaner pig, microbial gut flora and immunology are intrinsically linked and using feed additives that promote the presence of beneficial bacteria can improve gut health and defend against diseases such as Salmonella.

Optimum performance can only be expected if weaners have a healthy gastrointestinal tract. If pathogens, such as the E.coli and Salmonella, get a foot hold this can damage intestinal epithelium and cause disease. The result is often seen as persistent sub-clinical disease and consistent production losses. Many harmful micro organisms attach to intestinal cells via mannose-bearing lectins which protect their cell walls.

However, research has found that using pre-biotics can block this mannose-effect and prevent the pathogen cells attaching to the intestinal wall, so reducing the bacteria’s ability to colonize.

Using a pre-biotic optimises gut conditions for beneficial bacteria, such as Lactobacilli, and improves gut integrity and villi architecture. The overall benefit is better nutrient absorption and more efficient feed conversion.

Research from 54 studies (Miguel et al., 2004) a combined analysis comparison (meta-analysis), reported positive responses of weaned piglets when an organic yeast based additive was included in their diet.

Results showed a 2.1% (p=0.3) improvement in feed intake, a 4.1% increase in growth rate (P<0.001) and 2.3 % better feed conversion efficiency (p<0.001).

There is increasing interest in dietary manipulation to control enteric disease, particularly Salmonella.The use of enzymes, probiotics and acidification have been shown to reduce infection levels however, results are inconsistent and appear to be very herd specific. More research is required and producers are being encouraged to co-operate with their vets and nutritionist.

For more information on Salmonella, click here.
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