Probiotics are defined as live microorganisms, including Lactobacillus species, Bifidobacterium species and yeasts that may beneficially affect the host upon ingestion by improving the balance of the intestinal microflora of animals.
The concept of probiotics and the use of these products as feed additives has been developing since the late 1970's but has become more popular in animal feed particularly poultry and aquaculture after the ban of in-feed antibiotics on January 1st 2006.
Even though the new feed regulation 1831/2003 makes it more difficult for companies to put their products on the market, the probiotic business is growing rapidly.
The reported benefits of feeding live organisms include decreased occurrence and duration of diarrhoea, immunostimulation, pathogen resistance and maintenance of mucosal integrity.
How probiotics are able to exert so many positive effects is still not fully understood and may be a combination of many factors where the most widely accepted mode of action is that of competitive exclusion.
While the benefits of probiotics are generally accepted, there are still many questions concerning their mechanisms. This has always been a difficult topic of research because of the huge of variability of the different trials, not only concerning the subject animals and their environment, but also involving different preparations of the probiotics themselves.
Probiotics have potential to produce beneficial effects in poultry via modifications of the microbial population within the digestive tract. Read more >
Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) can make a significant contribution to a number of aspects of pig production. Read more >
Although ruminants are particularly well adapted for feed digestion, owing to their ruminal microflora, at times, biochemical conditions prevailing in the rumen can prevent optimum feed utilization. Read more >
Probiotics may provide an alternative way to reduce the use of antibiotics in aquaculture and simultaneously may avoid the development of antibiotics resistant bacteria. Read more >
A popular group of probiotics are the live yeast products, based on Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Read more >
Synbiotics refer to combination nutritional supplements comprised of probiotics and prebiotics. Read more >
Supplementing livestock with probiotics can be very beneficial, but how do you know whether these live bacteria reach the digestive tract alive? Read more >
The European Probiotic Association (EPA), originally established in 1999, is an association of the companies involved in the production and registration of probiotics, for sale primarily inside the European Union. Read more >