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Gut health: from gut microbiota (Prof Filip van Immerseel) to gut inflammation (Prof Theo Niewold) and access some interviews conducted during last ATA conference.


Understanding Gut Health in poultry production

  • Prof Theo Niewold; Prof Filip Van Immerseel and Dr. Pierre-André Geraert

Roundtable on Understanding Gut Health in poultry production

  • Prof Filip van Immerseel and Prof Theo Niewold

Addressing the intestinal mucosal immunity

  • Dr. Mustapha Berri (INRA Pig Mucosal Immunity Team)

Regulations and Alternatives to Antibiotics

  • Dr. Gérard Bertin (Secretary of European Probiotic Association-EPA)
Your questions / Our answers

Q: Are the biomarkers available commercially?

Lots of biomarkers can be easily measured in analytical labs, however reference values are still missing to help define what is a dysbiosis situation vs a normal one. Scientists are working hard to get such figures and we can expect to have practical and efficient tools in the coming years.

Q: Hello Pierre-Andre, Greetings from Venezuela. What are the residual effects of misuse and abuse of AGP and antibiotics in general, in pigs and poultry?

The world misuse or overuse of antibiotics in both humans and animals has conducted to these antimicrobial resistances that we observed worldwide. In countries with a significant duration of ban on AGP's and more prudent use of antibiotics a clear reduction of antimicrobial resistance has been reported (EFSA reports, 2015-2016).

Q: One of the alternatives you mentioned was herbs, do you think that they can help us to control Clostridium?

It is important to consider that no one alternative can be considered as the only solution to get rid of Clostridium perfringens. However some solutions such as some Bacillus subtilis can exhibit a specific efficiency on such a pathogen bug. Essential oils and herbs could have some effect on the host to reinforce its resistance as well as on the pathogen by itself. But guaranteeing consistency and delivering to the right level of the intestine are still important issues for those alternatives.

Q: Besides improving animal growth and wellbeing, does improving animal gut health help to fight against viral infections?

Reinforcing the gut health or better speaking the gut wall will improve resistance of the animals to challenges through bacteria, parasites and virus. We have also observed that a mycotoxin challenged gut wall would better resist if there was supplementation with a specific Bacillus subtilis through better gut wall integrity and gut immune system.

 Q: Can externally supplemented butyrate has the same potency as internally synthesised by bacteria?

Very interesting question not yet solved by the experts. When giving formulated butyrate to be delivered at the intestinal level the positive effect on the enterocytes and gut mucosa can be observed. However, when influencing the microbiota profile stimulating the butyrate bacteria producers directly or indirectly through the cross feeding would give a localized and dedicated effect with more long term consequences through the rebalancing of the microbiota.

 Q: I thought organic acids are best alternative for AGP, also most economical one. Is it correct?

Organic acids can contribute to control microbiotia through both pH reduction and their radicals penetrating into the bacterias. However, they are not specific to any bacteria and might also affect commensal bacteria that could impair performance as observed at high doses or very young animals. Moreover, coating is also important to consider.

 Q: What is the difference between probiotics and prebiotics? Which kind of alternative will be more developped in the next years according to you?

Probiotics are live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit to the host. Conversely, prebiotics are nutritive substrates that are only metabolized by the gut microflora to benefit to the animal performances and health. Scientists are working more to develop nutritional solutions based on combination, such as symbiotics which combine pre and probiotics, to guarantee the efficacy of those alternatives.