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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Animal Biosciences & Biotechnology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #347103

Research Project: Non-antibiotic Strategies to Control Enteric Diseases of Poultry

Location: Animal Biosciences & Biotechnology Laboratory

Title: Phytochemicals as potential antibiotic alternatives to promote growth and enhance host health: A report from the Second International Symposium on Alternatives to Antibiotics

item Lillehoj, Hyun
item LIU, YANHONG - University Of California, Davis
item CALSAMIGLIA, SERGIO - Autonomous University Of Barcelona
item FERNANDEZ-MIYAKAWA, MARIANO - Instituto Nacional De Tecnologia Agropecuaria
item CHI, FANG - Amlan International
item CRAVENS, RON - Amlan International
item OH, SUNGTAEK - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)
item Gay, Cyril

Submitted to: Veterinary Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2018
Publication Date: 7/31/2018
Citation: Lillehoj, H.S., Liu, Y., Calsamiglia, S., Fernandez-Miyakawa, M.E., Chi, F., Cravens, R.L., Oh, S., Gay, C.G. 2018. Phytochemicals as potential antibiotic alternatives to promote growth and enhance host health: A report from the Second International Symposium on Alternatives to Antibiotics. Veterinary Research.

Interpretive Summary: This paper summarizes recent progress in using phytochemicals as an alternative to antibiotics in animal agriculture and discuss the topics that was discussed at the 2nd Alternative to Antibiotics International Symposium that was held in Paris, in 2016. Antibiotics, since their discovery in the 1920s, have played a critical role in contributing to the economic effectiveness of animal production as feed supplements at sub-therapeutic doses, to improve growth and feed conversion efficiency, and to prevent infections. However, with intensification of animal agriculture, concerns exist that the use of antibiotic growth promoters led to the development of antimicrobial resistance, posing a potential threat to human health. Although the beneficial effects of using plant-derived phytochemicals as antibiotic alternatives have been well demonstrated, there is a lack of information on mechanism of action, efficacy, and advantages and disadvantages of their applications in the field. Therefore, this paper discusses potential modes of action of various phytochemicals and how optimal combinations of various alternatives coupled with good management and husbandry practices could lead to maximize performance and maintain animal productivity while we move forward, with the ultimate goal of reducing antibiotic use in the animal industry.

Technical Abstract: There are heightened concerns globally on emerging drug-resistant superbugs and the lack of new antibiotics for treating human and animal diseases. For the agricultural industry, there is an urgent need to develop strategies to replace antibiotics for food-producing animals, especially poultry and livestock. The 2nd International Symposium on Alternatives to Antibiotics was held at the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in Paris, France, December 12 -15, 2016 ( to discuss recent scientific developments on strategic antibiotic-free management plans, to evaluate regional differences in policies regarding the reduction of antibiotics in animal agriculture and to develop antibiotic alternatives to combat the global increase in antibiotic resistance. More than 300 participants from different academia, government research institutions, regulatory agencies, and private animal industries from >20 different countries came together to discuss recent research and promising novel technologies that could provide alternatives to antibiotics for use in animal health and production; assess challenges associated with their commercialization; and devise actionable strategies to facilitate the development of alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) without hampering animal production. The 3-day meeting consisted of four scientific sessions including vaccines, microbial products, phytochemicals, immune-related products, and innovative drugs, chemicals and enzymes, followed by the last session on regulation and funding. Each session was followed by an expert panel discussion that included industry representatives and session speakers. The session on phytochemicals included talks describing recent research achievements, with examples of successful agricultural use of various phytochemicals as antibiotic alternatives and their mode of action in major agricultural animals (poultry, swine and ruminants). Scientists from industry and academia and government research institutes shared their experience in developing and applying potential antibiotic-alternative phytochemicals commercially to reduce AGPs and to develop a sustainable animal production system in the absence of antibiotics.