Reducing antimicrobials use with functional nutrition

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Functional nutrition to promote animal health is one of the tools available to decrease the need for antimicrobials in animal production, according to a recent journal published by FAO and prepared by Coen Smits of Trouw Nutrition and his team.

Restrictions on the use of antimicrobials in animal production are on the agenda worldwide. Young animals (piglets, broiler chickens and calves) are particularly susceptible to diseases and disorders, and the use of antimicrobials on these animals is therefore relatively high.

Nutrition affects the critical functions required for host defense and disease resistance. Animal nutrition strategies should therefore aim to support these host defense systems and reduce the risk of the presence in feed and water of potentially harmful substances, such as mycotoxins, anti-nutritional factors, and pathogenic bacteria and other microbes.

General dietary measures to promote gastrointestinal tract (GIT) health include, for example, the functional use of dietary fibers to stimulate gastrointestinal secretions and motility, lowering the protein content to avoid excessive fermentation of protein in the hindgut, and selective use of a combination of feed additives and feed ingredients to stabilize the intestinal microbiota and support mucosal barrier function.

In addition, the use of organic acids may contribute to feed and water safety.

This knowledge, used to establish best practices in animal nutrition, could allow the adoption of strategies to reduce the need for antimicrobials and contain antimicrobial resistance.

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Managing Editor and Editor of Asian Poultry Magazine, Jakarta, Indonesia. Arief juggles team directorial management regionally while monitoring avian disease with articles such as, ‘Bacterial enteritis could become a bigger problem by 2025’.