Hyderabad: Antibiotic resistance in humans and residues in the environment have led researchers to look for alternatives to antibiotics and they have found that vaccination, pre and probiotics and herbal feed additives will help to maintain a low mortality rate and also give a good level of animal yield in farms. The research which was published in the journal, Animal Nutrition highlighted multiple studies where different alternative methods were used and antibiotics reduced in livestock.
The need to include natural agents as good growth promoters in animals was felt due to the increasing presence of antibiotic residues which was found to make its ways into the food chain and also the eco-system. This has increased consumer pressure and it was felt that it is very important that the consumption of antibiotics in animal growth must be reduced.
Dr G Srinivas, resident doctor in the general medicine department in Osmania General Hospital explained, "The use of antibiotics, either natural or synthetic, is to prevent proliferation of bacteria. It is given to destroy bacteria which causes infections and other diseases in both humans and animals. Scientific evidence has now shown that there is massive use of antibiotics especially in poultry farms, and this is causing an increased problem of antibiotic resistance." In the last 50 years, the quality of broiler chicken and its life-cycle have seen a major change due to the use of antibiotics where the yield and production has helped to feed many.
But the residues have also added to the problem in food change. Veterinarians state that they require a strong combination of medicines which will help them ensure that the yield continues to be high and quality is also not affected. For this reason, researchers are looking at the vaccination option for poultry animals which will help them fight infectious diseass and also resist viruses present in the air. Apart from this, research is focusing on the use of probiotics, prebiotics, enzymes, organic acids, immunostimulants, bacteriocins, bacteriophages, nano particles, phyotcides, herbal feed additives and essential oils.
Researchers in their paper published in Animal Nutrition, found that phytogenic feed additives or herbal feed additives are derived from plants, herbs and spices and can be used to improve animal performance in terms of improved immune system and reduced stress response.
Senior veterinary doctor Prabhakar Rao explained, “When there is an infection or a disease there is use of antibiotics in animals and humans. But the use of antibiotics as growth promoters can be reduced if alternatives are found to work at the farm level.”...