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An interdisciplinary study on the mode of action of probiotics in pigs

O. Simon 1  
Speaker of the research group FOR 438 of the German Research Foundation, Institute of Animal Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin, Brümmerstr. 34, D-14195 Berlin, Germany
J. Anim. Feed Sci. 2010;19(2):230–243
Publication date: 2010-05-09
An interdisciplinary research group granted by the German Research Foundation (FOR 438) tested various hypotheses and tired to develop a model for the mode of action of probiotics in pigs. The study included the fields of animal nutrition/digestion physiology, anatomy and histology of the intestinal mucosa, transport and secretory properties of the mucosa, microbiology of the intestinal tract, immune system (classes of intraepithelial lymphocytes, humoral responses), gene expression of the mucosa and finally the in vitro and in vivo resistance against infection with Salmonella. Five trials with ten sows per treatment each and their piglets and two probiotic strains were included in this study. The studied bacterial strains were Enterococcus faecium NCIMB 10415 and Bacillus cereus var. toyoi NCIMB 40112. Concluding from our studies and the published data of others, the effects of probiotics on performance are rarely significant. However, with one exception the incidence of post-weaning diarrhoea under the effect of both probiotics was significantly reduced in the trials of the research group. Furthermore, the identification frequency of various E. coli sero-pathovars relevant in post weaning diarrhoea was reduced in these animals. On the other hand, no significant modifications were found for the morphology and histology of the intestinal mucosa and also not on transport properties of this tissue. A further important finding was that the mode of action for probiotics is not unique but species or even strain specific. Most probably the studied probiotics act directly and/ or via modifications of the intestinal microbiota on the immune system (intraepithelial lymphocyte population).
O. Simon   
Speaker of the research group FOR 438 of the German Research Foundation, Institute of Animal Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Freie Universität Berlin, Brümmerstr. 34, D-14195 Berlin, Germany
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