Farmscape for April 20, 2016
The Canada Research Chair in Microbiology of Nutrigenomics says, by improving the health of beneficial microbes in the gut, livestock producers can reduce their dependence on antibiotics.
Swine Innovation Porc has set the development of tools to reduce dependence on antibiotics as a top research priority and identified improved gut health as one option.
Dr. Ben Willing, an Assistant Professor with the University of Alberta and Canada Research Chair in Microbiology of Nutrigenomics, says the presence of certain microbes in the gut has been associated with resistance to infections and a healthy barrier prevents pathogenic organisms from attaching and doing damage.
Clip-Dr. Ben Willing-University of Alberta:
It's an aspect of competitive exclusion.
The healthy bugs are just simply outcompeting pathogens that come in for nutrients and space and they can also even produce antimicrobial molecules.
Its like microbial warfare and they can actually kill or at least inhibit the pathogenic organisms that come in.
More recently we're starting to recognize that these healthy bacterial are very good at stimulating the immune response so that the host or the pig can protect itself.
There's certain bacteria that are good at telling the host to send out antimicrobial molecules into the intestine that can then prevent the pathogens from taking hold.
Finally these healthy microbes can provide nutrients.
One example is short chain fatty acids and short chain fatty acids are a nutrient source for the cells lining the gut, and if those cells in the have lots of energy, they're more robust and able to fend off bacteria better.
Dr. Willing acknowledges reducing antibiotic dependence will require a multipronged approach but microbial populations are among the most important resistance mechanism an animal has.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork