Caister Academic Press

The Use of Probiotics to Enhance Animal Performance

Juliana Teixeira de Magalhães, Luciene Lignani Bitencourt, Marta Cristina Teixeira Leite, Ana Paula do Carmo and Célia Alencar de Moraes
from: Probiotics and Prebiotics: Current Research and Future Trends (Edited by: Koen Venema and Ana Paula do Carmo). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2015) Pages: 459-468.


Enteric infections by pathogenic bacteria and clinical expression of disease occur frequently in young animals. Multiple environmental changes usually lead to stressful conditions and trigger transitory inflammatory responses in the gut that can contribute to anatomical and functional intestinal disorders (Berge and Wierup, 2011; Heo et al., 2013; Suda et al., 2014). These diseases have often brought about significant economic losses in animal production. In order to solve this problem, antibiotics have been included in animal feeds either at sub-therapeutic levels (acting as growth promoters-AGPs), or at therapeutic levels, to treat diseases. As growth promoters, they reduce competition for nutrients between the gastrointestinal (GI) microbiota and the host. The effects of such competition have often been at the cost of animal performance. Unfortunately, there has been considerable concern over the use of AGP's, because their long term and extensive use in animal production has resulted in selection for survival of resistant bacterial species or strains (Van der Fels-Klerx et al., 2011; Thaker, 2013). Moreover, consumer demand for organic and natural food continues to increase in the world because of an ongoing perception that organic or natural products are better than their conventional counterparts in terms of safety, taste, and increased health benefits. The general term organic foods is used to define foods that are produced without using chemical fertilizers, additives, and synthetic pesticides as well as not being processed with irradiation. Among organic foods, the overall organic meat market size is small compared with the conventional meat industries. However, according to the Organic Trade Association, the organic meat industry has grown $ 3.8 billion in 2014 (OTA, 2014). In general, with increases in organic meat products, new management approaches are needed to compensate for potential food safety concerns and animal health. Thus, the use of probiotics have been suggested as the most desirable alternative for livestock due to their beneficial effects. Probiotic bacterial species are included in the diet to promote health, protecting the intestine against pathogenic microorganisms and reducing inflammation (Ross et al., 2010; Meng et al., 2014, Cho et al., 2011; Thacker, 2013). This chapter will focus the use of probiotics as a feed additive discussing their beneficial effects in swine, poultry, aquaculture and ruminants read more ...
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