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Published: September 2, 2021

Weaknesses of commonly used antibiotics for animals

There are many antibiotics for animals today in the market that are not that effective to the animal. Because these commonly used antibiotics have many weaknesses as they are not able to keep up with the modern bacterias. So in this article, you will be able to find out about theses weaknesses and defects in detail.

1. Plant essential oil

Plant essential oils were first used in Europe as an alternative to antibiotics. So, they have a clear mechanism of action, a large amount of test data to support and validate their effectiveness. Plant essential oils maintain intestinal health and improve immunity through four major barriers: biological, mechanical, chemical, and immune barriers.  

Effect of killing coliform bacteria: cinnamaldehyde> thymol> eugenol; Effect of killing clostridia: thymol> cinnamaldehyde> eugenol 

The problems with the use of plant essential oils are volatile, easily oxidized, insoluble in water, poor palatability, and allergenic. So maintaining the stability of plant essential oils is the key to using them well. In addition, the industry standard for essential oils is complex, and effective quality control is a difficult task. Therefore in recent times, it has become a bit ineffective as antibiotics for animals.

2. Acidifier

Difficulties of inhibition of bacteria by direct addition of acidifier to feed:

The type of organic acid: whether the common acidifier contains organic acid that can effectively inhibit harmful bacteria such as E. coli and regulate the balance of intestinal flora. 

An effective amount of addition: organic acids without effective treatment are mostly dissociated in the stomach and duodenum, and the amount of organic acids that can reach the jejunum, ileum, cecum, and colon in a complete molecular state to play the function of bacterial inhibition is very limited, and the amount of acidifier added must be increased to increase the number of organic acid molecules in the hindgut. 

Problems of adding large doses of organic acids to feeds:

The addition of large doses of organic acids to feed may affect the palatability of feed and the intake of pigs through odor and taste. 

The addition of large doses of organic acids in feed can damage the digestive tract and the pH in the stomach will drop sharply. Thus affecting the secretion of the animal's own gastric acid. 

The addition of large doses of organic acids to feed can destroy other nutrients in the feed. And that is why it lost its popularity as an alternative in antibiotics for animals.

3. Probiotics

Probiotics for feeding include the categories of traditional lactic acid bacteria, Bacillus, and fungal yeast. Which mainly exert probiotic health benefits through three modes. The first point is land grabbing, competing for structural sites in the host intestinal mucosa to produce a competitive advantage in space; the second point is competing for nutrients needed by microorganisms; the third point is microorganisms producing metabolites, such as organic acids, bacteriocins, and antimicrobial peptides, which produce inhibitory effects on pathogenic bacteria through metabolites. 

Factors such as high-temperature pelleting link in feed production, the environmental impact of long-term storage. And also, physicochemical conditions such as gastric acid, digestive enzymes, and choline in livestock and poultry affect the stability of the probiotic application. Thus, the stability and excellent resistance of probiotics are the basic elements to ensure efficient use. 

4. Antimicrobial peptides

The problem of the short half-life of antimicrobial peptides is mostly caused by protein hydrolysis. Because antimicrobial peptides are linear in structure and therefore are easy targets for proteases and peptidases. Moreover, the enzymatic hydrolysis activity in serum is much stronger, which makes the delivery of antimicrobial peptides via blood a great difficulty. 

The structures of some of the currently known antimicrobial peptides are still unknown. And this poses a great obstacle to the isolation and purification of antimicrobial peptides. Therefore it is a great weakness found in antimicrobial peptides as antibiotics for animals.

5. Plant extracts and herbal preparations

As the plant essential oil, plant extracts, and herbal preparations have the problem with the standard of the products as well. Besides, the composition of plant extracts is relatively complex, and their corresponding functions are also complex. 

6. Enzyme preparations 

Enzyme preparation is a class of feed additives widely used in feed in recent years. But feed additives that applied enzyme preparation are mostly digestive enzymes. And they are an environmentally friendly green feed additive too. Because it can effectively improve feed utilization, save feed raw material resources, and has no side effects, no drug residues of drug additives and produce and drug resistance and other adverse effects.  

It also holds the stability of the product to high-temperature granulation of feed and gives stability to stomach acid.

7. Short and medium-chain fatty acids 

Medium-chain fatty acids (MCT) mainly refer to fatty acids from C6-12, mainly including hexanoic acid, caprylic acid, capric acid, and lauric acid, while short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) refer to fatty acids below C6, mainly including acetic acid, propionic acid, and butanoic acid.  

Short-chain fatty acids are mainly effective in inhibiting Gram-negative bacteria (G-), and the ability of medium-chain fatty acids to inhibit Gram-positive bacteria (G+) increases with the increase of the carbon chain. 

Butyric acid as important short-chain fatty acid is used in the form of butyrate (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium) and butyric acid glycerides. The main roles it plays in replacing feed growth-promoting antibiotics include the following three aspects. 

  1. Promote intestinal health: ① Protect the integrity of intestinal tissue structure (including a physical barrier, chemical barrier, immune barrier, and microbial barrier) and healthy function; ② Improve the intestinal microbiota. 

  2. Sterilization and antibacterial, reduce the inflammatory response. 

  3. Improve production performance. 

To avoid being absorbed rapidly in the animal's stomach and rarely enter the intestine, especially hard to function in the back end of the intestine, the precise slow release of butyric acid products( such as sodium butyrate) is a key issue, or esterification of butyric acid(such as tributyrin) to ensure ease of use, reduce the loss in the stomach, and ensure that even a small amount of addition can provide more butyric acid to reach the intestine to function. 

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