Main Article Content
antibiotics, growth, health, postprandial inflammation
There is increasing pressure to reduce the prophylactic and therapeutic use of antibiotics in animal production based on the fear for inducing bacterial resistance. Antibiotics are very cost effective promoters of growth and health in production animals. Therefore, farmers would only be willing to reduce antibiotics if effective alternatives are available. The search for alternatives is hampered by misconceptions about the exact physiological mechanisms behind growth promotion by antibiotic growth promoters (AGP). Hitherto, they were attributed to their antibiotic properties. This is highly unlikely for various reasons, the main one being the subtherapeutic concentrations used. AGP work much more likely by direct inhibition of the intestinal postprandial inflammatory response. This implies that alternatives to antimicrobial growth promoters should be non-antibiotic anti-inflammatory compounds, which also removes the fear for inducing bacterial resistance. Because of public resistance against the perceived abuse of medicines in animal production, alternatives should preferably not be registered drugs. Most viable options are plants (extracts). Plants are perceived as natural and green, and contain a plethora of candidates. Compounds can easily be selected in vitro and subsequently tested in vivo. It is expected that these compounds will help to considerably reduce antibiotic use in animal production while maintaining profitability.
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