Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Nutrition, Growth and Physiology » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #313104

Title: Lysozyme as an alternative to growth promoting antibiotics in swine production

item Oliver, William
item Wells, James - Jim

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/14/2015
Publication Date: 8/12/2015
Publication URL:
Citation: Oliver, W.T., Wells, J. 2015. Lysozyme as an alternative to growth promoting antibiotics in swine production. Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology. 6:35.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Lysozyme is a naturally occurring enzyme found in bodily secretions such as tears, saliva, and milk. It functions as an antimicrobial agent by cleaving the peptidoglycan component of bacterial cell walls, which leads to cell death. Antibiotics are also antimicrobials and have been fed at subtherapeutic levels to swine as growth promoters. These compounds benefit swine producers by minimizing production losses by increasing feed efficiency and decreasing susceptibility to bacterial infection and disease. This manuscript reviews the knowledge of the effects of lysozyme, as compared to traditional subtherapeutic antibiotics in swine feed, on pig performance and health. It is clear from decades of studies that antibiotic use in feeds increases pig performance, particularly in the nursery. Similarly, lysozyme, as a feed additive, increases growth and feed efficiency. While the mechanism by which antibiotics and lysozyme improve performance is not clearly understood, both of these feed additives improve gastrointestinal health, improve the metabolic profile, and alter the gastrointestinal bacteria ecology of swine. Therefore, lysozyme is a suitable alternative to growth-promoting subtherapeutic antibiotic use in swine feed.