Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
REVIEW

Managing gut health without reliance on antimicrobials in poultry

N. K. Morgan
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia. Email: nmorga20@une.edu.au

Animal Production Science 57(11) 2270-2279 https://doi.org/10.1071/AN17288
Submitted: 5 May 2017  Accepted: 20 July 2017   Published: 17 August 2017

Abstract

It is well established that antimicrobials in animal feed enhance feed efficiency, promote animal growth and improve the quality of animal products. However, resistance development in bacterial populations, and hence consumer demand for products free of antimicrobial residues, has prompted efforts to develop alternatives that can replace antimicrobials without causing loss of productivity or product quality. One of the key barriers to complete withdrawal from antimicrobial use is microbial infection, for example, necrotic enteritis. There is much interest in using in-feed nutraceuticals such as prebiotics, probiotics, organic acids and plant extracts as alternatives to antimicrobials to create a healthy gastrointestinal environment and to prevent and treat enteric infections. Enzymes are generally used to alleviate anti-nutritional factors in feed, but there is growing awareness of their beneficial effects on the gastrointestinal environment, and consequently on gut health. An example of this is production of prebiotic xylo-oligosaccharides when xylanase is added to feed. This review discusses developments in alternatives to antimicrobials that can aid in managing gut health in a post-antimicrobial era, with particular reference to recent nutritional strategies.

Additional keywords: enzyme, oligosaccharides, prebiotic, probiotic.


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