Benefits of probiotics use in monogatrics

Probiotics have been used in the production of monogastrics for human consumption for a number of years. However, the level of industry acceptance and consistent use of probiotics varies by country, production company and individual nutritionist, veterinarian and live production expert. With the ban of in feed antibiotic growth promotants (AGPs) in various countries, combined with consumer perception and market pressure, probiotics have received renewed attention as a “next generation” technology to fill the void left by the ban of AGPs. With this increased need by the monogastric industry, research efforts have focused to improve on existing technologies and provide improved, targeted probiotics to the monogastric industry with proven efficacy in laboratory, research and commercial monogastric systems. At present, probiotic suppliers provide products that are efficacious for use in commercial systems when targeted correctly within the monogastric production system.

Broadly speaking, probiotics have the ability to (i) produce antimicrobial proteins, (ii) produce enzymes, (iii) influence immune function, (iv) produce organic acids. For simplicity, only these four characteristics are mentioned. Each of these characteristics has been the basis for numerous research papers. However, the focus for this short paper is to examine the effects that such characteristics have on the monogastric production system. For this task, it is best to separate the probiotic benefits into two areas: Biocontrol and Bioremediation.

Biocontrol – this area encompasses the control of enteric disease (subclinical and clinical) and immune function. These actions can result in improved production efficiency in monogastrics with enhanced control of cost. Probiotics that produce antimicrobial proteins to target pathogenic microorganisms have shown to reduce mortality due to diseases such as necrotic enteritis and pathogenic E.coli infections. As mentioned earlier, probiotics can have effects on the monogastric immune function. Proper immune development in young monogastrics is crucial for the future performance of the animals during the different production stages. Probiotics that favorably impact the early immune function in monogastrics set up the animal to live healthy and profitably.

Bioremediation – this area focus on the output of manure from the monogastric animal and its storage. The storage of manure can result in environmental challenges both for animals and humans. Probiotics targeted for bioremediation typically produce enzymes that allow the probiotic to shift the manure decomposition process away from undesirable end product (volatile fatty acids, ammonia, etc.). In short, the mode of action for this is the production of enzymes that breakdown the fecal matter, shifting the decomposition process away from anaerobic to more of an aerobic decomposition process.

Probiotic use in monogastric will continue to increase due to governmental restrictions on the use of AGPs. Consumer perception and market pressure will also drive the monogastric industries to continue to explore the probiotic options on the marketplace. This will provide a feedback mechanism that will spurn continued research investment and product improved probiotic products.