PROBIOTICS FOR PIGLETS
DIARRHEA IN LACTATING PIGLETS LEADS TO LARGE LOSSES IN PIG PRODUCTION THROUGHOUT THE WORLD
Since the European Union banned the use of antibiotics as growth promoters, it has become imperative to use alternative treatments to improve the health status, and thus the production, of food producing animals. Diarrhea in suckling piglets causes large losses in pig production throughout the world.
Although the diarrhea is mainly caused by Escherichia coli, other pathogens such as Clostridium difficile and Clostridium perfringens can also frequently be detected. The use of antibiotics for this type of infection has several drawbacks, not only because of their ineffectiveness given that the syndrome is not very specific, but also because of the increase in transmissible resistance in pathogenic strains with serious consequences for animal and human health.
The research group led by Professor Pedro Rubio has been studying lactic acid bacteria and their possible application in improving animal productivity for several years. On the basis of recent studies revealing the connection of the gut-mammary gland-axis, the research group proceeded to selective isolation of bacteria from colostrum of sows and meconium of newborn piglets from farms with a high sanitary level that carried in their structure the appropriate biomarkers. On the basis of these isolates, a high-quality probiotic product was designed as an alternative method to prevent diarrhea in suckling piglets, avoiding the use of antibiotics that only worsen the microbiota of the weakend piglets.