Aromabiotic Poultry in the battle against antibiotic resistance
Antibiotics have become an integral part of today’s poultry production. The indiscriminate use of antibiotics in animal agriculture has been subjected to a critical scrutiny by governments but also by consumers. Consumers worldwide increasingly want healthy food from antibiotic-free raised animals, preserving for as long as possible the ever-diminishing arsenal of antimicrobials effective in humans.
How can we responsibly use antibiotics in animals without compromising food safety and human health, as well as animal health, welfare and productivity? In 2000 the Nuscience R&D division already invented Aromabiotic Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA). Ever since, Nuscience’s experiences help feed millers, integrators and farmers, all over the world to improve their feed and avoid the excessive use of antibiotics. Results show improved animal health combined with maximized growth performances. Medium chain fatty acids are well known to exert excellent antimicrobial properties. The minimal concentration of medium chain fatty acids needed to inhibit microbial growth is much lower than for other acids. For this reason they are used for a long time as alternative to antibiotics in poultry nutrition. However the properties of medium chain fatty acids go far beyond their antimicrobial effect. Medium chain fatty acids featureother benefits like reducing virulence of pathogens, improving intestinal morphology and improving immune function of animals. In this way the use of medium chain fatty acids has beneficial effects over the use of in feed antibiotics, and even add-on effects when they are used together.
Aromabiotic® fulfills where antibiotic falls short
In the low pH environment of the stomach, un-dissociated MCFA molecules are capable of penetrating the phospholipid bilayer of the bacterial cell membrane, thereby destabilizing it. Inside the bacterial cell, MCFA’s encounter a near-neutral environment resulting in accumulation of dissociated MCFA molecules and protons in the bacterial cytoplasm. Intracellular acidification will eventually lead to killing of the bacterium. Aromabiotic MCFA’s not only show lower minimal inhibitory concentrations when compared to SCFA and LCFA, the free MCFA provide an early pathogen barrier already in the stomach of the animal, compared to MCFA esters which only release free MCFA in the intestinal tract by gut lipases. Even at non-bactericidal concentrations, MCFA’s can have a dramatic effect on pathogen persistence. By reducing the virulence of bacterial pathogens, the outcome of disease is altered and intestinal and systemic colonization is reduced, as shown in scientific trials. The combination of these antibacterial actions will result in a beneficial microbial ecosystem and thus a higher villus/crypt ratio favouring the digestive and absorptive capacities of the intestines. Next to promoting gut health, Aromabiotic MCFA’s have a positive influence on the immunity of the animal. White blood cells (neutrophils) remain more active making the animal also more resistant against non-digestive disorders.
Figure 1: Aromabiotic-MCFA in the feed increase the level of healthy neutrophils (white blood cells)
Improving intestinal morphology
The height of the villi is related to the absorption capacity of nutrients by the enterocytes. The higher the villi, the better...
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