Prebiotic might reduce Salmonella infection
Studies are currently underway to investigate the use of
galacto-oligosaccharide prebiotics to protect animals from Salmonella infection
and other food poisoning bacteria. The sugars, called galacto-oligosaccharides
are already known to improve the health of breast-fed infants and may also hold
promise for animals, according to the researchers.
"Antibiotics are used to treat particularly severe
Salmonella infections," says Laura Searle from the Veterinary Laboratories
Agency in the UK. "But their effectiveness has been undermined by their
systematic use both as growth promoters in animals and as therapeutic agents,
which has been implicated in widespread antibiotic resistance. In an attempt to
overcome this problem the EU banned the use of antibiotics as growth promoters
in 2006, so now alternatives are urgently being investigated."How it
One possibility is to use prebiotics made from natural complex
sugars that are already known to improve gastrointestinal health. There have
been many theories put forward about the way they actually work, including the
suggestion that they may stimulate our natural gut bacteria to multiply,
allowing them to fight off invading pathogens trying to colonise.
Veterinary Laboratories Agency has initiated a project to demonstrate the exact
mechanism for the apparent success of a novel galacto-oligosaccharide mixture.
Their studies have now shown that the specific mixture protects animals from
infection by reducing the invasion capabilities of Salmonella, and lowering the
seriousness of disease symptoms. After treatment with this mixture, fewer
Salmonella bacteria were found in systemic and intestinal
tissues.Used on farm level
"The next step will be to see if
the novel galacto-oligosaccharide mixture can be used in farm livestock
successfully, and whether it is still as effective when given before a
Salmonella infection, protecting the animals in advance. We also need to see if
it can protect against other pathogens," Searle continues.
scientists hope that their tests will prove whether it is actually successful in
farm animals, reducing gastrointestinal infections, improving animal health and
cutting economic losses. The scientists need to now discover the exact
mechanisms by which the sugars work.Related
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