The current probiotic market offers plenty of options, with many different products to choose from. Luckily there are some arguments that can be kept in mind, supporting the right choice:

  • What is the intended benefit? The term “probiotics” covers many microorganisms, each with their own mode of action and benefit. As such, some will be more adapted to the challenge at hand than others: keeping the intended benefit in mind when choosing a probiotic is essential, as probiotics also have their limitations.
  • Is the probiotic stable and, as such, can it be used in standard feed processing and/or the drinking water management? There are great differences in stability amongst probiotic products, most noticeably between spore formers and non-spore formers. The ability to form spores is part of the inherent defence mechanism of these bacteria, coming into effect when environmental conditions are not favourable. When a spore is formed, its multiple robust layers protect the bacteria’s genetic information until it can germinate again. It is this spore-forming capacity which makes these probiotics more adept to deal with feed processing or water hygiene measures, whilst it also protects the micro-organism throughout the digestive process until it reaches its location of action.
  • Is it a combination, mixing multiple probiotics in the same product? When probiotics are combined in the same product, some degree of inherent competition will be introduced, especially if the strains used are part of the same genus (Bacillus for example). Due to their similarities they are expected to compete for similar requirements, such as nutrients, potentially diminishing the intended effect.

Keeping the above in mind, spore-forming and single strain probiotics are often the preferred products of choice. A good example is B-Act® (Huvepharma), containing spores of Bacillus licheniformis (DSM 28710) as an active component. This probiotic strain supports the birds’ gut microflora both directly and indirectly, ensuring healthy, productive and profitable flocks. Its mode of action is diverse, with the production of potent bioactive substances aimed at pathogen control playing a key role. Clostridium perfringens in particular, the key pathogen in production diseases such as necrotic enteritis and dysbacteriosis, is actively and efficiently controlled by B-Act®. To put this into numbers a statistical analysis was done on 11 recent performance studies, looking at general improvements in feed conversion rates (FCR) and final body weights (BW). On average, B-Act® supplementation led to 3% heavier birds compared to control flocks, whilst the FCR dropped with similar percentages.

Based on this analysis, it is clear that supporting a healthy gut leads to productive and profitable poultry. With an attractive return on investment (ROI), B-Act® offers an interesting solution to do so, combining economics with health standards in the most rewarding way.

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