The regularlyinadequate amountsconfer a health benefit on the

The use of probiotics in animals’ for better health and
higher production has increased significantly over the last 25 years.Probiotics is defined as the live microorganisms which when
administered regularlyinadequate
amountsconfer a health benefit on the host. The major effects of probiotics
are improvement in growth rate, feed conversion efficiency, reduced pathogenic
microbial burden and reduction in morbidity and mortality. All these beneficial
effects are due to advantageous alteration of GI tractmicrobial ecosystem which
will ultimately improve animal health and productivity. Although the mechanisms
of probiotics action is not well definedbut the activity to achieve their role
include alteration in intestinal flora, enhancement of growth of non-pathogenic
bacteria, forming lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide, suppression of growth of
intestinal pathogens, secreting bacteriocins and enhancement of digestion and
utilization of nutrients. Probiotics reduceduse of antibiotic use and shows no
considerable health benefits. In this articleimportant beneficial effects of
probiotics in terms of animal health, productivity and possible mechanism of
action of probiotics are described.



1 What is a probiotics?

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The term probiotic
etymologically appears to be a composite of the Latin preposition pro (“for”
or “in support”) and the Greek adjective (biotic) from the noun bios (“life”)
meaning ‘for life’ or ‘in support of life’ and has had several different
meanings over the years. It was first used by Lilley and Stillwell (1965) 1, to
describe substances secreted by one microorganism which stimulated the growth
of another. The term probiotic now covers a much broader group of organisms. Probiotics
as “organisms and substances which contribute to intestinal microbial balance”
thus including both living organisms and non-living substances 2. Inclusion
of the word ‘substances’ and redefined probiotics as “a live micro­bial feed
supplement which beneficially affects the host animal by improving its
intestinal microbial balance” 3.

The joint Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
(FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) Working Group defined probiotics as
“live micro-organisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a
health benefit on the host” 4. This definition is widely accepted and adopted
by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics 5.


2 Need of probiotic in animal feed


Probiotics (or direct fed microbials) are becoming increasingly
popular as one of the alter­natives to Antibiotic Growth Promoters (AGP). The
most important objectives for using probi­otics in animal feed are to maintain
and improve the performance (productivity and growth) of the animal and prevent
and control enteric pathogens. In commercial animal production
system intensive housing is common; here the livestock’s are fed with
concentrated form of nutrients to get large quantities of animal products in
less time. However, the use of feedstuffs which are concentrated form of
nutrients can create conditions in the rumen that are suboptimal or harmful for
the fibrolytic microorganisms, thereby impairing fiber digestion. The GIT harbours a complex microbial population
that has several important functions. The principal function is the ability of
microbial ecosystem to protect the host from intestinal disorder but most of
the times natural flora of host becomes weak to fight against intestinal
pathogens so supplementation of intestinal micro flora with probiotics will act
as therapeutic measure in fighting pathogens and competitive expulsion of
pathogenic microbes responsible for intestinal infections.Nutritional quality
of a feed is influenced by many factors such as, hygiene, amount and type of
anti-nutritional factors (ANF), digestibility, palatability and effect on
intestinal health rather than nutrient content. Therefore, Feed additives play crucial
role for augmenting productivity and improving animal health.

supplementing probiotics during the stressful conditions will reverse the same
adverse effects and will ultimately lead to immunomodulation and improved
productive and reproductive efficiency.