Common additives to replace antibiotics in US broiler feeds

Animal Nutrition Views

Dr. Ioannis Mavromichalis is an animal nutritionist holding graduate degrees from Kansas State University (MSc) and University of Illinois (PhD). He is the Principal of Ariston Nutrition Consulting International. He may be contacted at [email protected]. See all author stories and blogs.

Common additives to replace antibiotics in US broiler feeds

What are the most common feed additives considered among U.S. nutritionists in their search for antibiotic replacements?

The United States is following the arduous path already taken by the European Union, at least when it comes to banning growth-promoting antibiotics in broiler diets. In fact, in several well-known instances, the U.S. broiler industry is taking it a step further by refusing to use antibiotics even for therapeutic purposes in the Never Ever 3 (NE3) marketing approach. To make matters worse, coccidiostats are classed as antibiotics under U.S. rules, something the EU has carefully managed to avoid, so far.

The short list below lists some common feed additives encountered in everyday discussions among nutritionists in the U.S.

1. Organic acids

Free, coated, straight or salts, these compounds have been shown to possess the strongest antibacterial activity. Adding 1 or 2 kg of organic acids per metric ton of complete feed is barely enough. We need much more than that, but then cost becomes prohibiting.

 2. Probiotics

WATT Global Media’s annual Nutrition & Feed Survey revealed that when it comes to replacing antibiotics, probiotics are always in the mix of additives. Sometimes they are used even in the presence of antibiotics, assuming antibiotics do not kill them.

3. Phytogenics or phytobiotcs

Phytogenics are making a very strong entrance in the U.S. market. All together, they are viewed, correctly or not, as supplementary to organic acids, but some go beyond that by boosting the immune system or stimulating the digestive system.

4. NSP enzymes

Certain enzymes make life difficult for bacteria as they break down viscous cereal compounds that provide a a safe harbor suitable for proliferation.

5. Functional fibers

Certain functional fibers provide feed to the beneficial bacterial or create a hostile environment to the pathogenic ones, or both. It is a novel area in poultry nutrition deserving more attention.

6. Copper

Certain inorganic (and perhaps a few organic) copper compounds offer promising results in controlling pathogens.

7. Yeasts and derivatives

There is a long list of potential benefits in using yeasts and its derivatives, and being an antibacterial is one of these, at least according to some experts

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