Submitted to: American Dairy Science Association Discover Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 14, 2003
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The increased concerns about antibiotic resistant bacteria being passed from food animals to humans has caused scientists, producers, and the public to investigate alternative methods for pathogen control and growth promotion in food animals. Tons of antimicrobials are fed to food animals each year both for growth promotion and as prophylactic measures against infectious diseases, indicating the food animal industry's reliance on these agents. To meet the demand for the removal of many antimicrobial agents used in animal agriculture, producers will need alternative methods of pathogen control and growth promotion. Studies in our laboratory have focused on the use of animal derived normal gut bacterial microflora in the prevention of intestinal colonization of food animals by zoonotic pathogens associated with food born disease. When administered to neonatal animals, these gut microflora, termed competitive exclusion (CE) cultures, have been shown to be effective against Salmonella and Escherichia coli infections. We have shown decreased shedding and intestinal colonization, and reduced mortality and morbidity associated with Salmonella infections in chickens, and Salmonella and E. coli infections in swine. As political pressure for the removal of growth promoting and prophylactic antibiotics in food animals continues to increase, the need for alternative ways of controlling disease and for promoting growth in food animals has become more urgent. We believe that the use of CE cultures may be an alternative to antimicrobials in animal agriculture, either on their own or in combination with other interventions for reducing pathogens in animals destined for human consumption.