Do Probiotics Mitigate or Contribute to Antibiotic Resistance?

July 12, 2018 07:00 AM
 
A research project performed by T.G. Nagaraja and funded by the National Pork Board will show how probiotics can aid gut health and growth, but some may cause resistance.

As directed by swine veterinarians, antibiotics have long played a strategic role in keeping weaned pigs healthy, as well as helping smooth their transition into the growing stage. However, with growing attention placed on in-feed antibiotics and a concern over potential antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the pork sector is looking for alternatives that can provide similar benefits. (Note: antimicrobial is the more inclusive term of both antibiotics and antibiotic-like substances.)

By enhancing gut health and improving growth performance probiotics could be one such alternative. However, because AMR involves complex ecological and genetic factors other than selection pressure exerted by the use of antibiotics, it is important to ensure that probiotics do not contribute to AMR development.

Kansas State University researchers have identified probiotic products, frequently used in the swine industry, that carry or do not carry AMR. They will investigate select probiotic products to determine which are most likely to mitigate AMR in gut bacteria. “The results will help develop intervention strategies to mitigate AMR, as well as maintain the usefulness of antimicrobial drugs in swine production,” researchers point out. Click here for more details.

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