Livestock performance and NAGPs support
Although Antimicrobial Growth Promoters (AGPs) are inducing growth and have been used extensively in the past; due to the increasing threat of antibiotic resistance, AGPs (antibiotics as growth promoters) have been banned in the European Union (EU) in 2006. Since then, antibiotic use is only allowed to treat diseases and therefore, the need for alternative growth promoters instead of using AGPs in the livestock farming is greater than ever.
Antibiotics as AGPs were covering up quite vast problems in animal rearing programs. After the ban of AGPs, as the antibiotic consumption decreased, a lot of other issues such as inflammation in the whole animal production process became apparent. Therefore, many subjects such as nutrition plan, biosecurity, animal welfare as alternatives to AGPs became more important.
Also, administering Non Antibiotic Growth Promoters (NAGPs) including probiotics, prebiotics, organic acids, phytogenics and enzymes as important alternatives have been deeply studied and vastly used. Generally, these alternatives help animals to achieve their genetic potential; but to be able to achieve the best performance by the alternatives and especially NAGPs, there would be a need to improve our know-how about AGP’s function at first. As mentioned, because AGPs were covering up lots of problems in animal production system, anti-inflammatory effects of AGPs were not very clear. Many studies have been evaluating this effect to be able to make the beneficial role of AGPs more clear. For instance, it has been investigated that generally antibiotics are killing bacteria by accumulating in inflammatory cells. They reduce the pro-inflammatory cytokines and therefore, reduce catabolic effect. Thus, antibiotics boost the growth enhancement and by eliminating AGPs, inflammation would increase.
Antibiotics are effective because they:
Inhibit endemic subclinical infection and therefore reduce the metabolic cost of the (innate) immune system
Decrease growth depression metabolites such as ammonia and bile degradation products by microbes
Reduce microbial use of nutrients
Enhance intake and use of nutrients because the intestinal wall in AGP-fed animals are thinner