Several Compounds Show Potential as Replacements for Antibiotics

CANADA - A researcher with the University of Manitoba says several compounds are showing potential as alternatives to in-feed antibiotics to help improve the health of pigs and stimulate growth, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 4 January 2017
clock icon 3 minute read

"Alternatives to In-Feed Antibiotics in Swine Nutrition" was among the topics discussed earlier this month as part of Prairie Livestock Expo in Winnipeg.

Dr Martin Nyachoti, a Professor and Associate Head of the University of Manitoba's Department of Animal Science, explains when used at sub therapeutic levels, antibiotics suppress pathogenic bacteria and help maintain a healthy environment within the gut allowing the animal to utilize nutrients efficiently and grow optimally but, as the use of in-feed antibiotics is phased out, we need to find alternatives.

Dr Martin Nyachoti-University of Manitoba:

There is actually a very large number of compounds that are being tested to try and replace in-feed antibiotics.

You see a tremendous amount of variability in terms of how different additives work.

There are classes that will fall within things such as what we call functional ingredients.

These will be ingredients that will have additional benefits, zinc oxide or organic acids, probiotics, prebiotics, feed enzymes, essential oils so the list is very large and they fill a very significant void.

As I indicated, we use sub-therapeutic levels of antibiotics to control enteric diseases, to promote growth.

By taking away the antibiotics we lose that benefit so we need something else that can give us that same benefit.

A lot of these additives do show potential that they can promote growth.

They can control the gut environment, especially the gut microbiota and immune responses in pigs to benefit the growth performance of these young pigs.

Dr Nyachoti says there is evidence that each of these alternatives will work, in some circumstances better than others.

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