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High probiotic demand from farmers and the companion pet sectors are expected to boost the adoption of advanced probiotic technologies for animals, according to Grand View Research.
Probiotic use in animal nutrition is widely accepted today. Rapid advancements in molecular biology and gene sequencing are helping researchers dig deep on finding new probiotic applications for animals, including in feed and in consumer-packaged health products for companion pets.
Probiotics are increasingly being added to commercial animal feed for cattle and poultry to alter the gastrointestinal flora and overall animal. Growing awareness among pet owners, cattle farmers, and hobbyists regarding the advantages of probiotics for animals health is a major opportunity for the businesses operating in probiotics manufacturing.
Companion Animal Food
Companion animals like dogs and cats are usually on high-carbohydrate diets. Similar to humans, their health and well-being depends on their gut microbe communities.
Probiotic bacteria strains help maintain healthy levels of good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, defending the gut against pathogenic bacteria. Probiotic ingredients also include spore formers and yeast-based ingredients. These additives help in vitamin production, management of toxins, destruction of harmful bacteria, effective digestion of fibers, and increased absorption of nutrients.
Over the last decade or so, there has been a significant rise in the adoption of probiotics in animal feed for farm animals like swine, cattle, horse, ruminants, and poultry. Using probiotics in cattle feed has shown beneficial results in terms of animal performance, digestion, and the immune system.
When introduced to feed in an appropriate quantity, live probiotic microorganisms can produce bountiful health benefits. For instance, ruminants see numerous benefits when probiotics are included in feed during weaning and at the beginning of lactation.
Another example: yeast helps stabilize pH and reduce the risk of acidosis among ruminants. Today, yeast is commonly used among swine, poultry, and monogastric animals. Yeast-based probiotics target the animal’s colon, caecum, and other areas-a hideout for diverse microbial populations.
The shift towards antibiotic-free meat is also expected to be a major factor driving businesses to discover safe and reliable tools for farmers. However, not all probiotics reduce foodborne diseases.
The bacteria most commonly used as animal-feed probiotics include Lactobacillus, Bacillus, Streptococcus, Pediococcus, Enterococcus, and Bifidobacterium. Most commercially available probiotics contain more than one species for maximum effect. Some also contain fungi and yeast stains.
The live cultures used in probiotics are available in vegetative form and spore form. Vegetative cultures are humidity and heat sensitive, while spore cultures are naturally strong when it comes to withstanding heat, antibiotics, and stomach acids.
Commercial Probiotic Products
Probiotic companies continue to roll out new probiotic products directed at the animal market. Here are some companies specializing in the animal-probiotic space.
Adisseo (Atony, France) offers its spore-forming Bacillus subtilis Alterion probiotic strain targeting poultry. According to the company, “During production, birds are regularly challenged by various stress factors, including feed content or pathogens. By balancing gut microbiota, Alterion will help the animals to perform optimally, even under challenged conditions, providing at the same time a protection against future intestinal disorders.” Another company, Novozymes, also recently announced the development of pipeline probiotics based on Bacillus.
The recently created U.S.-based company Bactana Animal Health is developing a novel bacterial stain of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii for commercial livestock usage. The company is close to receiving Series A funding to expand its research and development activities. The company recently partnered with Cornell University’s McGovern Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences.
Microbial LLC (Gaithersburg, MD), a company that develops pet probiotics, recently launched a multistrain, high-count probiotic for companion dogs called Profauna 100. The product is specifically developed to support canine digestive health. The product contains eight strains of bacteria and is cited as one of the highest bacteria count probiotics available for dogs. “We found many dog parents were giving their dogs probiotics designed for people without understanding their dog's stomach is likely to be 10 to 100 times more acidic than the human stomach,” said Kamilah Lewis, senior director of marketing and communications for Microbial LLC, in a press release. “We developed Profauna 100 specifically for dogs as an alternative for consumers using human probiotics or canine probiotics that haven't been effective. Each strain of bacteria was reviewed for its ability to tolerate stomach acid, low pH, and bile acids to make sure it travels all the way through the dog’s GI tract and adheres to the intestinal wall.”
The Future of Animal Probiotics
High probiotic demand from cattle farmers and the companion animal sectors are expected to boost the adoption of advanced probiotic technologies, according to Grand View Research. Top players are investing hefty amounts in research and development to discover entirely novel products and applications. Nanoencapsulated probiotics are expected to create numerous opportunities for the industry in near future.
Apart from being gut flora stabilizers, probiotics are expected to be utilized for more applications in animals, including for increased immunity and reduced stress levels. Probiotics will also continue to be used to improve the quality of eggs and meat and can reduce salmonella. And, overall, the microorganisms used in probiotics are approved for animal nutrition and do not constitute a major hazard for animal health. They do not affect metabolic processes of animals as they are not transferred from intestines to other body parts.
Vinit Patil is team lead/senior analyst for Grand View Research in the chemicals and materials domain, managing a team of 10 people. His experience includes market research, business intelligence, consulting, and strategy building.