Probiotic yoghurts are popular. But, despite advertising claims, it is we can’t be sure whether they strengthen the human immune system or contribute to healthy gut flora: For most products there is no scientific proof of efficacy. Evonik, on the other hand, has rigorously tested its recently launched GutCare® probiotic to understand the effects of probiotics in another area of application: poultry farming.
GutCare® has been shown both in the laboratory and on the chicken farm to positively impact the composition of the gut flora and, for example, inhibit the growth of bacteria that can cause disease in chickens. “The animals also gain weight more rapidly, as is proven by trials in many parts of the world,” says Stefan Pelzer, who is responsible for innovation activities for gut health in the Animal Nutrition Business Line.
These effects, very important to poultry farmers, could for a long time be achieved only by the use of antibiotic growth promoters. In Europe, however, such antibiotics have totally been banned since 2006; in the US as well there has been a backlash by consumers because the World Health Organization sees a link between antibiotic use in livestock breeding and the occurrence of dangerous multi-resistant microorganisms in humans. But how can the spread of undetected diseases on the chicken farm be prevented without using antibiotics?
The solution, in a word, is probiotics. These are bacteria, administered with feed, that multiply in the gut of humans or livestock, where they stabilize the composition of the gut flora. GutCare® from Evonik contains a specific strain of the species Bacillus subtilis. More than 500 strains were investigated during product development and analyzed for their probiotic properties. The product has since been launched on the market in the US and the first Asian countries. Since its takeover of the probiotics business of the Spanish company NOREL, Evonik has had in its portfolio, one probiotic for poultry and aquaculture (Ecobiol®) as well as another for piglets (Fecinor®) - and is working on the development of more such products.