Expert opinion

9 commentslast update:6 Aug 2012

Bright future for bacteria

In this blog I want to touch on the area of probiotics a little bit more. 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 since the ban of in-feed antibiotics from January 1, 2006.

In this blog I want to touch on the area of probiotics a little bit more. 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 since the ban of in-feed antibiotics from January 1, 2006.

However, how probiotics are able to exert so many positive effects is still not fully understood. Some experts even doubt that probiotic products have any effect at all on animal performance and health.

Only good for young animals?
I often hear that probiotics are mainly recommended when the health of the animal is compromised or when the digestive system of young animals is not yet fully developed. This makes sense: Why improve the gut microflora if it is already healthy and in balance?

Human physicians say probiotics are primarily of interest to people with digestive disorders (Crohn's disease for example) or when people are undergoing antibiotic treatment. So why would it be different in animals? Of course animal production cannot be compared to human lifestyle. People are more conscious about food and are often influenced by marketing tricks that promote healthy food products, such as probiotics.

The use of probiotics in animals, on the other hand, is another discussion; commercial livestock have to grow and need to withstand the risks that come with intensive animal farming (disease pressure and stress for example). In this context, the use of probiotics might be a helpful tool to minimise these risks, especially in young animals.

How to measure?
The only issue that is not clear to me yet is the unit in which the efficacy of probiotics could be measured. Is it the number of good bacteria in the gut, or maybe the ratio good/bad bacteria, or should the efficacy be measured in how many pathogens are reduced by adding probiotics? I hope this issue will be explored further in the coming years. This will help nutritionists to better dose and use the probiotics in animal diets.

Related link :

AllAbout probiotics


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    johan staal

    Since 1991 we sell pro biotics, mainly to dairy farms, for use in calves and cows.
    We have good results (growth, health, production) in other species as well. Lately we have received very enthousisatic response from people that keep pigeons. I am always amazed that scientists need 30 years to find our that something works and still express doubts.

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    Mercedes Tarun

    I have tried using probiotics in both poultry and swine and I found out to be more highly significant in terms of growth, feed efficiency and its economic returns. Even in the organoleptic performance as per result of the evaluation from the 45 panel of tasters.

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    David Pickard

    Why the need to focus our efficacy questions on the bugs and 'how' they work. We never really understood fully how antibiotic growth promoters worked did we? Surely statistically significant results in well designed efficacy studies (such as those required for EU authorisation for example) is enough coupled with demonstrable responses in commercial situations.

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    Pascal Philipsen

    Pre-or probiotics? Does it make more sense to nurish the existing intestinal microflora by using prebiotics like inulin? Or use MOS products that block adherance to glycocalix?
    Secondly it's questionnable if probiotics survive the conditions during pelleting and conditions in the foregut and proliferate in the hindgut.

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    Larry Whetstone Canuk Sales Can

    Jared . Look up Prebiotic on Google and examine the phenomanal growth of products now being sold and the benefits obtained by the ingestion of these simple sugars which enhance and promote growth of the good bacteria in ANY single stomach life form. Shrimp to humans may improve growth and wellbeing in the body by feeding the bacteria in the bowel with prebiotics, which arr not damaged in transit through the digestive system as probiotics are by the acids and digestive juices . Prebiotics can survive in pelleting and cooking of feeds. Inulin is used extensively in many countries in countless food products and beverages.I suggest that you visit <> and see what is going on with pre and probiotics. The experts there will express no doubt concerning the efficasey of these beneficial bacteria and soluble fibers.

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    Dennis Nun

    I have worked with the marketing of the FASTRACK Probiotics, first developed in the US in 1986--since that time. I have never seen the products fail to produce positive results in the enhancement of health and performance in any species of production livestock which can be quantified. Several years ago a British scientist said that probiotics will only produce positive response when stress is a factor....but then went on to say that in all of our current, highly intense commercial production systems stress is a constant factor, and for that reason they find the use of probiotics on a continual basis a recommended practice.

    I typically expect a conservative $5 return per $1 invested in any typical production program... whether it is broiler, layer, swine, beef cattle or dairy operation.

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    probiotics are a good thing. In piglets that get the scours. we use natural yoghurt with no sugar around 3 - 4 ml per piglet. This is not causing resistance and it gives the piglet a greatera mount of good bacteria in the stomach. the scours stop and the piglet continues to drink from Mum. For the commercial grower it is a great opportunity to do some home experimenting

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    Peter Kürti -

    The effect of the use of probiotics with humans is well and quite intensively researched. Human medicine broadly acknowledges that well defined strains of probiotic bacteria can have a wide range of beneficial effects both on infants and adults. Even the mode-of-action of some strains is proven on the molecular level. The achievements of human medicine simply have not reached the stakeholdes of animal production and animal nutrition. Although the effects by nature are different and cost benefit relation drives user interest, the large corpus of efficacy documentation from human medicine provides numerous explanation for why and how probiotics work and how their effects on animal can be explained.

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    Dr Rachid Mohra

    the probiotics have positive impact on animals health,and olso on nutritive value

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