Application of Prebiotics and Probiotics in Livestock

Abstract

The advent of antibiotics and their use for treatment of clinical manifestations of infections has had a profound impact on animal health and welfare. In addition to direct application in the control of infection, low concentrations of antibiotics given in animal feed has been shown to correlate with higher health status and improved performance in terms of feed conversion (productive weight gain). Thus it is that antibiotics have been used as “growth promoters” in feed for livestock since the 1940s (Cromwell, 2001). Since the inception of this growth promotion concept there has been a debate on precisely how low level antibiotics mediate their action and whether or not this contributes to the acquisition of resistance in the bacterial flora of livestock.