Potential Benefits

Interest in the use of probiotics as livestock feed supplements is largely due to a concern over use of subtherapeutic levels of antibiotics in the livestock rations. The earliest potential benefit advocated for using probiotic bacteria in the human diet was to exert control over intestinal flora. It is assumed that the same type of relationship would occur in animals. Thus the primary potential benefit of probiotics is to control intestinal infections in the livestock. Some properly selected probiotic bacteria can also increase nutrient utilization by providing enzymes in the gut capable of converting certain components of the diet into more easily used nutrients for the host animal. Some studies have suggested the possibility of feeding selected probiotic bacteria to produce certain changes in the body composition of the animals or their products such as altering the lipid composition. The specific function of probiotics may be different depending on the host animal and, more important, on the characteristics of the probiotic. Viability of the probiotic at the time of consumption is considered very important. However, the viability in feed supplements may be low.[1]

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