Are all Bacillus subtilis equal?

There are many favourable effects associated with the use of beneficial microorganisms in animal feed. Probiotics possess a combination of benefits that other alternatives cannot provide alone. For example the production of organic acids, the competitive exclusion of enteric pathogens such as Escherichia coli, Campylobacter jejuni and Salmonella enteritidis, enhancing growth and viability of beneficial gut microflora, improved digestion and absorption of nutrients, production of antimicrobial substances and an enhanced immunity system of the host are all attributes that help probiotics to play a critical role in protecting the animal against enteric diseases.

The demands of modern society for large quantities of animal origin protein have led to intensive animal production where large numbers of animals are raised in relatively small areas. This drive for high productivity has invariably exposed the animals to considerable amount of stress resulting in health maintenance problems and disease issues. This is best illustrated by the widespread occurrence of necrotic enteritis in poultry.

In an attempt to develop an active microbial strain to inhibit C. perfringens, Kemin formulated CLOSTAT that contains a naturally occurring strain of Bacillus subtilis PB6 that was isolated from the intestinal tract of a healthy chicken. This patented proprietary strain, closely associated with the intestinal epithelium, was able to tolerate gastric and bile conditions. The Bacillus subtilis PB6 strain in CLOSTAT is able to form spores and this is a huge advantage in the strain’s survival during pellet formation. This PB6 strain in CLOSTAT is found to secrete a group of peptides enhancing the proliferation of beneficial gut bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bidifidobacterium spp., and with inhibitory action towards common enteric pathogens such as Clostridium perfringens. Different probiotics claim anticlostridial benefits. However, not all Bacillus species are equally efficient due to differences in activity, survival, and persistence in the harsh conditions of the gastrointestinal tract.

A broiler trial comparing CLOSTAT against a competitor in Europe was carried out with a total of 408 one-day-old male broilers (Ross 308) were divided into 2 treatments respectively, namely group A of CLOSTAT group standard diet supplemented with CLOSTAT  at 500 g/t in starter (0 to 10d), grower (10 to 24d), and finisher (24 to 42d), and group B of Competitor group- standard diet supplemented with Competitor at 50 g/ton in starter (0 to 10d), grower (10 to 24d), and finisher (24 to 42d) diets. At 24 and 42 days of age Competitor group had the lightest body weights (2680 g) when compared to group A (2829 g). Results on foot pad quality showed that the incidence of severe foot pad dermatitis was significantly higher in the competitor group (P<0.05). It can be concluded that CLOSTAT is the best option when the performance improvement is compared to competitor. If compared to other chemicals or antibiotics, CLOSTAT does not create resistance and is a natural alternative for the intestinal disorders faced in today’s production.