Could probiotics replace antibiotics?

by | Feb 24, 2020 | Literature, Animal Health, Microbiome, Nutrition | 0 comments

Bacillus Sp. Probiotic Supplementation Diminish the Escherichia coli F4ac Infection in Susceptible Weaned Pigs by Influencing the Intestinal Immune Response, Intestinal Microbiota and Blood Metabolomics.

Probiotics are not only for humans. In the farm and food industries, the clever use of microorganisms (e.g. bacteria, yeast) as food supplements can also help enhance the health of livestock. Diana Luise and colleagues explored the use of Bacillus bacteria to combat enterotoxic ETEC E. Coli strains that are a persistent threat to piglets after weaning.


ETEC has been linked to the development of post-weaning diarrhea syndrome (PWDS) which can result in the death of piglets. The typical mitigation strategies for PWDS are to supplement food with antibiotics or zinc oxide (ZnO) to remove any trace of the dangerous pathogen. These strategies are, however, strongly criticized. Indeed, the systematic use of antibiotics in the food industry is a source of growing concern vis-à-vis antimicrobial resistance, while ZnO will be banned for use against PWDS in the EU from 2022 on. Thus, better strategies are needed to mitigate the risk of PWDS.


In this article, scientists from Italian and Danish institutions investigated the use of two strains of Bacillus bacteria to counteract the effect of ETEC on piglets after weaning. The piglets were either fed a basic diet or a basic diet supplemented with the antibiotic colistin (particularly effective against ETEC) or one of two Bacillus strains (B. amyloliquefaciens or B. subtilis). The researchers followed the effects of their food supplements on the digestion and overall health of piglets with several methods, including targeted metabolomics in plasma samples 1 day and 14 days after weaning. Metabolomic profiles showed similarities between the probiotic and antibiotic groups. The authors conclude on a promising note on the potential use of Bacillus bacteria to combat the effects of E. coli strains in post-weaning piglets.

To find out how targeted metabolomics can be applied in your field of research, visit our products page or contact us.


Diana Luise, Micol Bertocchi, Vincenzo Motta, Chiara Salvarani, Paolo Bosi, Andrea Luppi, Flaminia Fanelli, Maurizio Mazzoni, Ivonne Archetti, Giuseppe Maiorano, Bea K. K. Nielsen and Paolo Trevisi. Bacillus Sp. Probiotic Supplementation Diminish the Escherichia coli F4ac Infection in Susceptible Weaned Pigs by Influencing the Intestinal Immune Response, Intestinal Microbiota and Blood Metabolomics. J Anim Sci Biotech 2019 https://doi.org/10.1186/s40104-019-0380-3

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *