Selecting feed additive ingredients using Quorum Sensing
Quorum Sensing (QS) is a bacterial signalling process that is critical for several biochemical responses. Feed additive company Nutriad has demonstrated the use of QS as a tool in the development of new feed additives for livestock and aquaculture application.
QS is a form of bacterial communication that is critical to bacterial virulence. Molecules that inhibit QS have the potential, therefore, to be used to fight pathogens by decreasing their virulence rather than killing them directly. Reducing QS in the gastro-intestinal tract is an interesting approach to control gut microbial activity and composition, and the potential for QS-inhibition as a means of improving animal health has been reported in several research papers.
Importance of Quorum Sensing
The importance of QS in production animals is currently not fully clear and many pitfalls and possible (dis)advantages of inhibiting QS remain to be investigated However, Nutriad believes that, in order to increase the chance of selecting the highest performing bioactive components in vivo, it is vitally important that the effect that these substances can exert at low concentrations are explored and QS is a potential promising tool to be considered for such investigations.
Botanicals with beneficial effects on animal performance
Using QS, Nutriad has been able to select (from a list of botanicals with known beneficial effects on animal performance) a combination of components that almost completely abolished QS signalling in vitro at very low concentrations. These mixtures also had a positive effect at sub- MIC concentrations on the viability of microbially challenged organisms in two in vivo models, Vibrio and C. elegans.
In subsequent field trials, these botanical mixtures improved health and performance in poultry and aquaculture species, arguing for the potential of QS to be used as a tool to select for botanical ingredients.
Nutriad CEO Erik Visser states: "Gut health is one of several factors important to obtaining optimum efficiency and profitability in livestock and aquaculture production. We see increasing evidence of the central role played by gut microbiota in animal health and disease."
Tim Goossens (Phd) of Nutriad adds: "When selecting ingredients that affect gut bacteria, such as botanical components, many feed additive producers often rely on in vitro experiments that demonstrate their bacteriostatic effect. However, the active ingredients of these botanicals will end up in the digestive tract of production animals at concentrations far below the minimal concentration needed to inhibit growth of (pathogenic) bacteria."
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