The Financial Express

Antibiotics? No. Probiotics? Yes

SAJIBUR RAHMAN | Published: February 28, 2020 17:11:59 | Updated: March 01, 2020 17:59:35

Antibiotics? No. Probiotics? Yes

Probiotics-fed chickens get higher body weight and also have lower abdominal fat, fetching increased profits for farmers and thus safe food for consumers, reveals a study.

Probiotics could be potential alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters in broiler chicken production. The beneficial bacteria could be utilised for safe poultry meat production, the study says.

The study on 'Effect of Dietary Probiotics as Antib-iotic Alternative on Growth Perfor-mance, Organ Development and Meat Quality in Broiler Chicken' was conducted by the Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI) under the Poultry Production Research Division.

A total of 192 birds were randomly allotted to four dietary treatments with four replicates having 12 birds each, said Dr. Md. Sazedul Karim Sarker, Senior Scientific Officer and Project Director of BLRI.

The probiotics which are live bacteria and yeasts provide health benefits, when consumed, generally by improving or restoring the gut flora, which are microorganisms that live in the digestive tracts.

Farmers can get more financial benefits by using the dietary probiotics that aid broiler growth performance, organ development and meat quality, the study says.

Feeding probiotics helps maintain the certain level of beneficial intestinal microflora and enhances the host's resistance to enteric pathogens such as Salmonella and Campylobacter species.

This practice leads to birds' healthy gastrointestinal environment with improved intestinal functions, feed conversion, weight gain and thus their better overall performance, the study reveals.

The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of dietary probiotics on broiler chickens' growth performance, organ development and meat quality.

Researchers are concerned about the widespread use of antibiotics in raising cattle, poultry birds and other animals for food production.

Although the antibiotics help animals bulk up and thus boost their value, experts warn that they can also promote antibiotic resistance.

The presence of antibiotics in the poultry feed puts public health at risk by creating antibiotic resistance in human bodies also, they say.

In view of this, they suggest widespread use of probiotics instead of the harmful antibiotics to ensure safe poultry meat production.

The use of antibiotics is risky not only because of cross-resistance but also because of multiple resistances.

This could pose a threat to public health, if dangerous infections of drug-resistant bacteria spread through the food chain, another study has revealed.

The use of antibiotics as growth promoters was banned from the EU on January 1, 2006 and in South Korea in 2011.

In Bangladesh, the use of most antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) has also been banned to preserve the effectiveness of important human drugs. So, there is a growing interest in finding alternatives to antibiotics for use in poultry production.

When contacted, Dr. Md. Elias Hossain, Head of Poultry Science at Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) in Mymensingh, has told the FE that the use of probiotics should be widened to a large extent, as antibiotics are posing a great risk to human health across the world.

The use of probiotics started in 10 to 15 years back, but its full potential is yet to be tapped, Mr Hossain has said.

He sees great potential for use of probiotics. Awareness should be raised at the grassroots level among farmers as it is yet to be done fully, he suggests.

Apart from this, he has stressed the need for proper poultry management as most of the farmers are not fully aware of this important aspect, Mr Elias has said.

Further follow-up studies are needed to determine probiotics' inoculation levels in the broiler diet and its potential in replacing antibiotics in broiler feed, opine researchers of both BLRI and BAU, he has suggested.

So, more research on user-friendly technology is very important for safe broiler production.

The most important advantage of the use of probiotics is that it neither has any residue in food animal tissues nor causes any antibiotic resistance, he has disclosed.


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