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Animal Health

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Functional Additives
Friday, November 10, 2006 5:00:00 PM
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The role of probiotics in animal production
J.A. Byrd



New requirements from the US federal government are mandating stringent regulations for the reduction of food-borne pathogens in commercially processed poultry in the United States.


Issues concerning food-borne pathogens continue to receive media attention, influencing research performed by governmental agencies (USDA-FSIS, 1997).


The initiation of the USDA-Food Safety Inspection Service's (FSIS) Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point program (HACCP) has renewed industry efforts to control food-borne pathogens (USDA-FSIS, 1996).


The HACCP concept has brought about intense recordkeeping and sampling programs, and has influenced the development of innovative food-borne pathogen reduction strategies across the nation.


While implementation of new intervention strategies to reduce food-borne pathogens is the goal, changes in commercial management practices due to economics and not scientific-based approaches may limit our ability to produce pathogen-free broiler chickens.


The normal gastrointestinal microflora of an animal contains 400-500 ifferent species and more than 1012 organisms/g of digesta.


These bacteria must adapt to survive in the dynamic environment of the gastrointestinal tract. The ability of bacteria to colonize the gastrointestinal tract of an animal is dependent on

  1. bacterial factors that permit the organism to survive in the gastrointestinal environment;
  2. host resistance factors which mitigate against maintenance of colonization by enteropathogens;
  3. on the interactions of the colonizing enteropathogen with indigenous normal microflora that compete with, or in some manner inhibit, the ability of a given enteropathogen to survive within the gastrointestinal tract.

As a practical matter, there are three sites of colonization in poultry, crop, cecum and large intestine, each with its own unique environment in terms of pH, oxygen tension, competing organisms, mucous composition, and host cell surfaces.


The colonizing enteropathogen must be able to adapt to the temperature, pH and oxygen tension conditions, utilize the substrates available under the existing gastrointestinal conditions, and avoid host resistance mechanisms.


Thus, the colonizing organism must be able to exploit a specific niche within the host, and therefore it may be possible to devise new control methods through a thorough understanding of pathogen bacterial factors involved in colonization.


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Article made possible through the contribution of World Nutrition Forum-Biomin.

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