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Probiotics can reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock: study

An AAFC research scientist has found that probiotics’ anti-inflammatory effects could improve livestock intestinal health


Guelph, Ont. – Most people have heard all about the great benefits of probiotics – namely that they’re good for digestive health.

Now a research scientist has discovered that probiotics can benefit the health of livestock animals, too.

According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) research, probiotics – live microorganisms or good bacteria – could be used to improve intestinal health and prevent gut-associated diseases in poultry and swine.

Dr. Magdalena Kostrzynska of the Guelph Research and  Development Centre (GRDC) found that combining dietary fibre from barley, oats, rye and soy, “probiotics could provide options for developing natural alternatives to conventional antibiotics for livestock.”

Kostrzynska is studying the role probiotics play in both reducing inflammation and improving gut microflora in livestock and humans.

This discovery could have beneficial applications in the livestock industry as producers look for alternatives to antibiotics in the management of intestinal diseases caused by food-borne pathogens, says AAFC.

Kostrzynska, along with her former AAFC colleague Dr. Susan Tosh, studied the anti-inflammatory effects of probiotics in combination with dietary fibre using a cell culture method.

Results showed that probiotics consumed with fibre can re-populate the gut with beneficial microbiota, as well as reduce inflammation and restore the gut mucus lining.

Dietary fibre combined with probiotics that can reach the lower digestive tract, helps promote the growth of these beneficial bacteria.

For livestock like poultry and swine this means healthier growth and reduction in the use of antibiotics. Traditionally, antibiotics have been used to kill pathogenic bacteria, reduce inflammation and promote growth.


Deanna Rosolen

Deanna Rosolen

Managing Editor, Food in Canada
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