How synergies between antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) and Bacillus-based probiotics benefit poultry producers
In today's intensive commercial poultry production systems, maintaining or improving gut health is critical to achieving optimal bird performance, which is a key component of the profitability of any broiler operations. Birds are continuously exposed to stressful conditions, such as crowding, heat, or out-of-feed experiences, which can increase the susceptibility to gastrointestinal tract (GIT) diseases. These diseases can result in reduced performance, immunosuppression and increased mortality, which lead to financial losses.
In modern-production conditions, one of the most-widely used management strategies to control and prevent these diseases are inclusion of sub-therapeutic levels of antibiotics popularly called antibiotic growth promoters or AGPs. The main purpose of using AGPs is to reduce the harmful effects of GIT diseases, and AGPs accomplish this by: reducing sub-clinical infection, decreasing production of toxic microbial products, depressing microbial competition, and enhancing nutrient absorption.
Globally, there is growing interest to reduce if not totally eliminate the use of AGPs in poultry production due to concerns associated with the potential development of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms (Huyghebaert, et al., 2010). This interest has resulted in the identification of several alternatives to AGP's such as phytogenic feed additives, organic acids, prebiotics, symbiotics and probiotics, among others. While AGPs work primarily to eliminate the negative impacts of certain microbials on the gut, the primary purpose of these alternative feed additives is to maintain or promote congenial conditions for the growth of beneficial bacteria for a healthier gut leading to a healthier and better performing bird.
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Article made possible through the contribution of Evonik Industries, Singapore