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Researchers Examine Impact of Feed Ingredients on Microbiome
Dr. Andrew Van Kessel - University of Saskatchewan

Farmscape for December 29, 2016

A researcher with the University of Saskatchewan says the role of the microbiome will become increasingly important as antibiotic use becomes more limited.
The microbiome, a diverse consortium of bacteria, viruses, yeasts and archaea, that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract, contain organisms that are both beneficial and detrimental to animal health and productivity.
In association with Swine Innovation Porc, Canadian scientists are exploring the potential of the microbiome for improving pig health and reducing antibiotic use.
Dr. Andrew Van Kessel, the Head of the Department of Animal and Poultry Science with University of Saskatchewan, says one of the starting points is to look at the ingredients used to formulate diets and their effect on the microbiome.

Clip-Dr. Andrew Van Kessel-University of Saskatchewan:
One of the things that we have learned that's been fairly consistent is that we feed very high protein diets.
That seems to promote the bad bacteria.
These bacteria produce compounds that toxic to the gut wall and probably increase susceptibility to pathogens such as E. coli.
Fibre and different sources of fibre, we hear lots about fibre in terns of the human context and promoting gut health in humans.
Fibre is less clear in animals.
It certainly changes the microbiome.
It may be beneficial in some cases, it may not be beneficial in other cases and we need to understand more when fibre is beneficial and when it's not beneficial in terms of the post weaning pig.
There's a number of additives that are also being investigated and many are available commercially from organic acids to probiotics to plant phytochemicals.

Dr. Van Kessel says there's certainly potential for each of those categories to provide benefit to the animal but, it's prudent to look at each product independently and determine whether it's impacting the balance of good and bad bacteria, potentially inhibiting pathogens and having a profitability advantage for the pig farmer.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork

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