Summary Optimal digestion and feed conversion heavily depends on a diversified and adaptable microbiome. There are methods to stabilise the intestinal microbiome with feed additives. Even the addition of one carefully selected active microbial (CLOSTAT
®) has been shown to positively influence a range of groups within the microbiome. A balanced gut flora is more than an insurance policy against intestinal disorder. It has a direct effect on animal welfare and performance. Introduction
The intestine is populated with organisms that are crucial for the health and performance of livestock. By encouraging those “good guys” the animals that host them become both healthier and more productive. However, the intestinal microbiome is often only of interest when livestock becomes ill. Understandably, as most therapeutic antibiotic applications with intestinal disorders caused by microorganisms or parasites. Why diversify the intestinal microbiome?
A diverse microbiome is stable. That means it benefits the intestinal integrity and modulates both the intestinal and general immunity. Moreover, the microflora produces enzymes which make digestion more efficient and useful metabolites that further enforce intestinal integrity. Most importantly, space is at a premium in the intestine, the more desirable microorganisms there are, the less space is available for potential pathogenic ones. How can the microbiome be diversified?
The diet livestock feeds on, the feed management and the health status of the animal influence its microbiome. These are some of the external influences, however it is also possible to directly influence the microbiome. Targeted influences for specific parts of the microbiota can be additives such as encapsulated acids (e.g. FORMYLTM), prebiotics, encapsulated essential oils (e.g. RepaXOLTM) or probiotic organisms (e.g. CLOSTAT
®). The most efficient method to diversify the microbiota is not to use unnecessary ionophores or antibiotics. Do we need to add all the probiotic strains?
If microbiome diversity is so crucial it seems obvious to add a wide variety of probiotics for maximum benefit. However, studies with a specific Bacillus Subtilis
®) have shown that one probiotic can have a profound effect on the host but also on the rest of the microflora. In the gut of a healthy chicken Bacillus subtilis
is vastly outnumbered by a variety of other organisms.
When introducing it as a feed additive, this balance does not change. The effects that can be observed (reduced dysbiosis, improved FCR, better uniformity in the flock, …) cannot be attributed to the Bacillus subtilis
alone. The effects can only be explained when looking at the microbiome. Several studies have shown that CLOSTAT
® not only modulates Clostridium
, for which function it was originally selected, but also significantly reduces Coliforms
. In parallel an increase of Lactobacillus
could be observed. This increase leads to a significant decrease in intestinal pH. Balancing the intestinal microbiome is an “insurance policy”
Efforts towards diversity and stability of the microbiome will ensure optimal health and welfare of the livestock. Yet, there is one key difference to an “insurance policy”. An insurance is only efficient if there is a challenge. By contrast diversifying the microbiome via the application of a proven active microbial (CLOSTAT
®) has an immediate benefit improving FCR and uniformity. This effect is present in both cases with or without a challenge. .