Alternative Growth Promotion

Once upon a time, antibiotic growth promoters were considered a giant step forward for the pig industry. Although their benefits are still undisputed, nowadays growing numbers of scientists ask questions about the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Therefore, a host of alternatives has flooded the market in recent years, conveniently summarised as ‘natural growth promoters’. This special issue hopes to unravel some of the mysteries of this growth market.


To protect or not to protect? That is the question

Organic acids are frequently used in swine production When micro-encapsulated these organic acids have advantages over free organic acids. They can profitably be used to prevent an acidic shock resulting from the limited hydrochloric acid production capacity of piglets at weaning.

By Robert Gauthier, DVM, ACPV, Jefo, St-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada 

Understanding inulin and oligofructose in piglet diets

In the post-antibiotic era, it is important to have a complete understanding of how gut bacteria grow and interact with each other, and with the animal. Today, we place significant value on establishing beneficial microflora right after weaning, to the point that such micro-organisms are often provided as in-feed supplements (probiotics). Fully understanding the mechanisms of proper nourishment for such beneficial bacteria remains the ‘frontier’ in piglet nutrition.

By Karel Thurman, Beneo Animal Nutrition, Tienen, Belgium

Synergistic blend for gut health and performance

A synergistic blend of various feed additives can contribute to a prudent use of antibiotics and zinc oxide in an economic and sustainable way. A routine application in piglet feed will support the health management practices and reduce feed additive costs.

By Coen Smits, Nutreco R&D and Jaco Eissen, Selko Feed Additives, the Netherlands 

Leaky gut – Old fact in a new light

The gut wall can be considered as a ‘first line defence’ for example against bacteria, toxins and endotoxins. If this defence is reduced, piglets are more susceptible to infections, which may lead to a leaky gut and consequently diarrhoea. Feeding combination of organic and inorganic minerals decreases leaky gut at weaning and lowers pig mortality while keeping growth rate at a high level.

By Hans Aae, director, Vitfoss/ Vilofoss, Denmark 

Plant alkaloids improve gut health and feed conversion in pigs

Plant alkaloids prove to be perfect alternatives for antimicrobial growth enhancers. Field trials conducted all over the world show that their antiinflammatory property supports gut health and the efficient use of feed.

By Dr Steven McOrist, Asian Agribusiness Consulting, Beijing, China and Julia Schmitt, Product Management, Phytobiotics Futterzusatzstoffe, Eltville, Germany 

Eubiotics working with antibiotics – Is it possible?

An increasing number of countries are banning or limiting the use of antibiotics. This stimulates the believe that supporting beneficial microflora will boost the animal’s innate immune system in more than one way. Eubiotics play an important role because they not only act locally, but also have an indirect positive systemic effect.

By Jorge Cervantes López, regional product manager – Eubiotics, DSM Nutritional Products 

From nature to highly sophisticated feed additives

The interest in phytogenic additives as natural performance enhancers for pigs is increasing. Stabilisation of gut functions and stimulation of the immune system is what counts in this respect. This article discusses the mode of action of phytogenic ingredients like capsicum and turmeric oleoresins.

By Dr Sven Brenner, market manager and Clementine Oguey, R&D expert, Pancosma, Switzerland

Vaccination significantly reduces use of antibiotics

Protection against diseases reduces the need for antimicrobials. This includes vaccinating against viral as well as bacterial diseases since it may prevent secondary bacterial infections which occur as a consequence of a weakened immune system. Vaccination provides the natural basis of a healthy pig.

By H. Bundgaard, Porcus Pig Practice, Denmark; E. Brockhoff, Prairie Swine Health Services, Canada; and C. Misutka, Prairie Swine Health Services, Canada

Feed additives and how they can be classified

The market is full of feed additives, making it often difficult to distinguish which does what and to what extent beneficial effects on animals have been tested, tried and researched. The European Commission plays its own role in this respect by classifying all additives for their function and quality.

By Dr Antje Holthausen, senior product manager, Delacon Phytogenic Feed Additives, Steyregg, Austria

Plasma affects growth in challenging conditions

Spray-dried porcine plasma (SDPP) is considered a valuable protein source in piglet feeds. Recent studies show the positive effects of plasma on technical piglet performance are more pronounced when animals are exposed to sub-clinical microbial infections.

By Louis Van Deun, MSc, Sonac


Alternatives to antibiotics - the Asian perspective!

The need to find alternatives for antibiotics is not restricted to livestock producers in the western world. The awareness of such a need is also recognised in Asian countries. Chinese research showed that using a pre-biotic is even more profitable than using antibiotics.

By Mike A. Varley, the Pig Technology Company, Yorkshire, England 

 No antibiotic growth promoters – Where next? 

The ban on antibiotic growth promoters (AGP) is forcing pig producers to look at alternatives. Before choosing an AGP replacer one should consider improved management practises and compare the Return on the Extra Outlay (REO), and backed up by MTF (Meat per Tonne of Food).

By John Gadd

Formulating antibiotic-free diets

When formulating a diet all nutritionists have to pay attention to cost, ingredients and nutrients. This is even more so the case when it has to be an antibiotic-free diet.

By Dr Ioannis Mavromichalis, Ariston Nutrition, Spain

The rise (and fall) of antibiotics in pig production

Antibiotics have been used for many years with success. Is the increasing resistance against the use of these therapeutic drugs the result of wrong use in animal production or in human health care? An historical overview of an experienced veterinarian.

By David G.S. Burch, veterinarian, Octagon Services, Old Windsor, Berkshire, UK

Prudent use of antibiotics while reducing resistance

The focus on reduction of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in humans and animals stimulates the discussion on how to efficiently produce pork meat without the use of antimicrobials as growth promoters. Considering prudent use provides a wide range of tools to promote animal health, welfare and productivity while reducing antibiotic resistance in food animals.

By James D. McKean, DVM, JD, extension veterinarian, associate director, Iowa Pork Industry Center, Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Ames, IA, USA

Resistance calls for changes in practice

Livestock producers in the Netherlands are forced to reduce the use of antibiotics by 70% by 2013. These reductions in antibiotic use and changes in livestock production practices are warranted. Major steps have been made already to meet this goal by making the use of antibiotics on all farms transparent.

By Prof Dr Dik Mevius, Dept of Bacteriology and TSEs, Central Veterinary Institute of Wageningen UR, Lelystad; Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Utrecht University; Veterinary Drug Authority, Utrecht, the Netherlands