Following on from the success of the Research Topic “Alternatives to Antimicrobial Growth Promoters and their impact in Gut Microbiota, Health and Disease”, we are pleased to launch Volume II.
Over a century ago Eli Metchnikoff (1907) proposed the revolutionary idea of consuming viable bacteria to promote health by modulating the intestinal microbiota. The idea is more applicable now than ever since bacterial antimicrobial resistance has become a serious worldwide problem both in the medical and agricultural fields. Antibiotic alternatives such as probiotics, prebiotics, phytochemicals, enzymes, organic acids, and vaccines to improve disease resistance in highly demanding/efficient food animal production systems have become a priority for many scientists around the world. Clearly, there is no such thing as a silver bullet. Rather, the combination of several of these nutraceuticals, accompanied with good husbandry and management practices oriented to improve animal welfare and productivity in our animal facilities and biosecurity programs are becoming the new strategies incorporated in many companies.
Antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria are an increasing threat to animal and human health, with resistance mechanisms having been identified and described for all known antimicrobials currently available for clinical use. At this time, there is an increased public and scientific interest regarding the administration of therapeutic and subtherapeutic antimicrobials to animals, due primarily, to the emergence and dissemination of multiple antibiotic-resistant zoonotic bacterial pathogens. Social pressures have led to the creation of regulations to restrict antibiotic use in poultry and livestock production. There is a necessity to evaluate potential antibiotic alternatives to improve disease resistance in a highly intense food animal production system. Nutritional approaches to counteract the debilitating effects of stress, infection, and chronic inflammation, may offer useful alternatives to antibiotics. Improvement of disease resistance of animals grown without antibiotics has been shown not only beneficial for the animals’ health, welfare, and production efficiency, but also as a key strategy to improve the microbiological safety of animal products. Recent international legislations and increasing consumer demands to withdraw growth-promoting antibiotics and limit the therapeutic use of available antimicrobials have resulted in the research and development of alternative feed additives (nutraceuticals) such as; probiotics prebiotics, synbiotics, phytochemicals, enzymes, organic acids, bacteriocins, and vaccines for the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases.
This Research Topic encouraged the submission of manuscripts that explore themes such as (but are not limited to):
• Evaluation of nutraceuticals as alternatives to antibiotics to improve performance, nutritional metabolism and health.
• Use or proteomics to evaluate effects of nutraceuticals in gut integrity, inflammation, and microbiota.
• Systemic markers that have well-defined linkages to gut health.
• Validation of factors involved in normal barrier functions and intestinal permeability markers associated with epithelial injury and repair that can be traced back to gut dysfunction.
• Impact of dietary supplementation of feed additives on the intestinal microbiome/metabolome under physiological or challenging conditions.
• Effect of feed additives on exo/endo toxins present in the intestinal environment or different dietary ingredients.
• Evaluation of different alternatives to antibiotics to reduce the detrimental effect of protozoal infections in different animal species.
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