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Probiotics improve competitiveness of Canadian swine sector

A Senior Research Scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada says probiotics offer the potential to improve the competitiveness of the Canadian swine sector while benefiting the public domestically and globally.

6 October 2019, at 9:46am

As part of research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc a multidisciplinary team made up of scientists from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the University of Guelph, the University of Manitoba and the Prairie Swine Centre are investigating the effectiveness of different types of novel alternatives to antibiotics that will promote pig gut health when incorporated in the post-weaning diet.

The effort is in response to concerns over antibiotic resistance and the goal is to find alternatives that can replace antibiotics in feed to promote pig gut health and therefore pig growth performance.

piglets on a slatted floor staring at the camera

Speaking to Farmscape, Dr Joshua Gong, a Senior Research Scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, says one aspect of the work involves identifying and assessing potential probiotic candidates.

"We have selected some lactic acid-producing bacteria, which showed good potential in reducing enteric infections," explains Dr Gong.

"For this particular project, we also propose to select some Bacillus isolates because Bacillus isolates normally have protease activities so we want to combine different types of bacteria which can have different functions.

"Some can incapacitate enteric infections. Some can promote nutrient digestion.

"We're looking for something that either can target specific pathogens or promote the host immune response."

Dr Gong says we're seeing a global migration away from the use antibiotics to raise pigs and, if we can successfully replace antibiotics in feed, the industry can be much more competitive in the market and the public, both domestic and global, will be benefited as well.