Animals and bacteria present a mutualist relation: Animals need a well balanced bacterial population in the gastrointestinal tract to maintain a healthy status, avoid sicknesses and digest nutrients that would not be available for them without the bacteria, and the bacteria need the animal to provide an appropriate environment to develop their population and a constant supply of nutrients. Veterinarians and nutritionists have always dealt with the gut microbiome and its variations, normally with the use of antibiotics at subtherapeutic dosage (also known as antibiotic growth promoters). The appearance of new trends in EU and in the rest of the world to produce animals without using antibiotic growth promoters (to avoid cross resistances) has led to the finding of solutions, as probiotics, that help the nutritionist to provide a diet that not only covers the nutritional needs, but also the requirements to maintain a healthy status and reduce the possibilities of suffering diseases. The use of probiotics in animal nutrition is common in the EU and is growing in the rest of the world (also combined with antibiotics, with synergistic effects), this document describes the ideal probiotic and shows examples of what can be expected when a probiotic is used in the feed.
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Article made possible through the contribution of J.J. Mallo, Norel S.A.