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How To Select The Right Probiotic

- Aug 08, 2018 -

How to select the right probiotic

Probiotics often have a positive image of gut health management for different species. However, not all are the same, even in the popular B. subtilis group. Probiotics are safe and beneficial in poultry and livestock production only when the treatment, strain and stability of the production are selected to meet the expected results.

Probiotics are present in a list of tools that reduce the use of therapeutic antibiotics. They have been shown to reduce diarrhea and even necrotic enteritis. They improve welfare by reducing footpad lesions and easily replace the effects of antibiotic growth promoters through feed. In some layers, some have been shown to improve shell quality while also having a positive impact on the FCR. The first study also showed a significant effect on the reduction of colistin and other therapeutic antibiotics. The biggest question is which strain can produce the desired results? Especially in the B. subtilis population, there is considerable genetic variation, which is easily explained by the broad niche of adaptation of the species.


Most piglet appetizers now contain probiotics as a standard. Photo: Shutterstock

Origin of probiotics

When considering the use of probiotics for livestock, the preferred source should always come from animals. Soil microorganisms do not necessarily have the rate of replication required for replication in young chickens, where the intestinal tract may be less than two hours. Conversely, species that perform well in small mammals or birds can be used in larger animals. This makes it possible, for example, to test the possibility of human probiotics for mice.

Stability - actual requirements for feed and water applications

Lactobacillus is the first and classic probiotic. They have two major drawbacks in animal feed. First, they are susceptible to the passage of acids in the digestive tract. As life microbes without spore protection, their number is significantly reduced during intestinal passage. For example, it has been proven in 1924 that the first probiotic that describes Lactobacillus bulgaricus cannot survive in the human gut.

The solution to this challenge today is to provide gastric resistance for human applications or to use spore forming microorganisms in all feed and water applications. Spore formers (e.g., Bacillus subtilis) have the additional advantage that if properly produced, they can withstand granulation and conditioning of the feed without significant loss of viability. This is obviously not the case with yeast or lactobacilli.


This strain is a microbial equivalent of a livestock breed. Bacillus subtilis is the most used species in livestock probiotics. So, what is the difference besides ATCC, DSM or other collections number? The difference lies in which of the metabolic activities possible for bacillus subtilis the specific strain has.

Enzyme production as an average to improve dietary digestion is a suggested mode of action for the first B. subtilis strain registered for livestock. Bacillus can produce enzymes, but usually does not reach the levels described in E. coli, and E. coli is more commonly used for in vitro enzyme production.

Necrotic enteritis is a continuing threat in broilers and turkeys, so strains used in these birds must have high yields of specific surfactants to reduce potential pathogenic Clostridia. For example, Clostat's patent is based on this activity. On the other hand, among layers and breeders, the ability to promote lactobacilli is critical to enabling them to absorb as much calcium as possible from the diet.

Probiotic production

Metabolites produced and their growth patterns by probiotics depend not only on species and strains, but also on production. A study of human probiotics in the United States found that only 50% contained strains declared on the label. Once the organism is produced differently, the species or strain will be different. This denies all research on the efficacy, safety and quality of probiotics. The growth of probiotics is easy, and the right growth requires experience. Any serious probiotic producer should recover its strain from the feed to prove CFU and, if in doubt, be able to identify the strain.

Probiotics are often trusted by users and are valuable tools for managing animal health. In order to obtain an effective and safe product, it is necessary to clearly understand the reasons for using the selected probiotics. In order to ensure the stability of the probiotics in the feed processing, it was finally confirmed that the strain on the label proved to be the exact strain of the product.

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