By Engineer Norma Vázquez*
Buenos Aires, August 1st. An aspect often not considered in animal production is the health of the intestinal microbiome. However, the balance of microbiome microorganisms is a key factor in ensuring good health and welfare of animals, which in turn significantly influences the productive results and microbial safety of animals and their products.
Among the most important factors that can modify the intestinal microbiome are food, the environment, antibiotics and vaccinations. With respect to food, the balance of the intestinal microbiome can be affected by the type of cereal used, by the physical structure of the food, by the levels and type of nutrients, for example, fat level, type of sugars, etc.
Regarding the environment, thermal stress favors the development of harmful bacteria, to the detriment of beneficial bacteria. The Lactobacilli has been shown to decrease severely under stress conditions.
The administration of antibiotics will also influence the composition of the intestinal microbiome because, in addition to reducing pathogen levels, it also decreases populations of beneficial bacteria.
On the other hand, vaccination generates an immune stress that can break the homeostasis of the microbiome and alter the immune functions of the intestinal mucosa.
Finally, supplementation with a probiotic can be a positive factor, helping to maintain the desired balance and to respond to factors that may promptly alter the composition of the intestinal microbiome.
¿What are probiotics?
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations defines probiotics as “live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”
The stimulation of appetite, the balance of the intestinal microbiome, the synthesis and absorption of nutrients and a better development of the immune system, are some of the many advantages acquired by the animals that incorporate these preparations into their diet.
The most commonly used bacteria genera as probiotics are Lactobacillus, Bacillus and Streptococcus. However, the genus Bacillus stands out as a probiotic, due to the action of extracellular hydrophilic enzymes that act on polysaccharides, nucleic acids and lipids; using these as carbon sources, electron donors and antibiotic producers.
*Quality Manager at Laboratorios Amerex : www.labamerex.com