Engormix/Poultry Industry/Technical articles

Alternatives to antibiotics for maximizing growth performance and feed efficiency in poultry: a review

Published on: 6/15/2017
Author/s : U. Gadde, W. H. Kim, S. T. Oh and Hyun S. Lillehoj. / Animal Biosciences and Biotechnology Laboratory, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Beltsville, MD 20705, USA.


With the increase in regulations regarding the use of antibiotic growth promoters and the rise in consumer demand for poultry products from ‘Raised Without Antibiotics’ or ‘No Antibiotics Ever’ flocks, the quest for alternative products or approaches has intensified in recent years. A great deal of research has focused on the development of antibiotic alternatives to maintain or improve poultry health and performance. This review describes the potential for the various alternatives available to increase animal productivity and help poultry perform to their genetic potential under existing commercial conditions. The classes of alternatives described include probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, organic acids, enzymes, phytogenics, antimicrobial peptides, hyperimmune egg antibodies, bacteriophages, clay, and metals. A brief description of the mechanism of action, efficacy, and advantages and disadvantages of their uses are also presented. Though the beneficial effects of many of the alternatives developed have been well demonstrated, the general consensus is that these products lack consistency and the results vary greatly from farm to farm. Furthermore, their mode of action needs to be better defined. Optimal combinations of various alternatives coupled with good management and husbandry practices will be the key to maximize performance and maintain animal productivity, while we move forward with the ultimate goal of reducing antibiotic use in the animal industry.


In Press

Gadde, U., Kim, W., Oh, S., & Lillehoj, H. (2017). Alternatives to antibiotics for maximizing growth performance and feed efficiency in poultry: A review. Animal Health Research Reviews, 1-20. doi:10.1017/S1466252316000207.


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