Making the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2020 a successful one

The annual World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2020 starts today. The aim is to increase awareness of global antimicrobial resistance. We also take the opportunity to support this initiative, by talking about this topic and giving the feed industry some info about phytogenics. Phytogenic solutions seem to have a bright future when it comes to reduce antibiotics in animal nutrition.

21st Century: How does the feed industry use antibiotics?

To answer this question, we interviewed our colleagues Maria Luiza Ruiz from Latin America and Mohamed Taleb from the Middle East.

In Latin America, the use of antibiotics depends on each country. However, from a general perspective, most states still do not have specific legislation restricting antibiotics in their therapeutic form or as a growth promoter.

There’s still the paradigm that the withdrawal of the antibiotics used for growth promotion damages the animals' performance and increases production costs.

On the other hand, meat exporting countries like Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia are forced to adapt to importers' countries' restrictions. So even though there is no internal legislation that forces the non-use of these chemical molecules, there is a market movement for new and natural alternatives such as phytogenic feed additives.

“An excellent example of antibiotic reduction is Argentina, where it is not possible to add antibiotics in the factory unless a veterinarian signs a form where he/she explains the dose and the antibiotic to be used. “

Maria Luiza Ruiz, Regional Technical Manager Latin America

From a practical point of view, we still have a long way to go. Holistic solutions are increasingly needed.

The reduction in antibiotics' therapeutic use requires more significant investments in nutrition, quality of feed raw materials, and many structural investments in the farms in terms of ambiance such as air conditioning, equipment, biosecurity, more excellent management care, etc.

“In our opinion, the pandemic transforms the world to care more about the health of humans and animals. In this sense, it will be just a matter of time for the feed industry to have more restrictions concerning the use of antibiotics and animal welfare,” says our colleague in Latin America.

What are the barriers of getting antibiotic-free?

Our colleague in Middle East points out that he still sees customers to using in-feed antibiotics. There is some progress, but even not enough. The main barriers to get antibiotic-free are costs and efficacy.

Many believe that there are already good alternatives, but not good enough to replace antibiotics.

Going towards a natural way: Phytogenic solutions can enhance animal performance

Due to the synergy of all agents within a plant, the beneficial effects of phytogenics are many. Mostly targeting livestock performance enhancement while reducing environmental emissions.

For example, a trial in broilers shows the following results (Figure 1):

  • Body weight gain (+1.3%)
  • Feed intake (-0.7%)
  • Feed conversion rate (-2.0%)

Figure 1: The average effect of selected phytogenic substances on body weight gain (BWG), feed intake (FI), feed conversion ratio (FCR) of broilers during a production period of at least 35 days. The non-supplement control was used as an internal reference in each trial (set at 100 %)

Additionally, in laying hens well formulated phytogenics positively affected the performance:

  • Feed intake (+0.3%)
  • Feed conversion ratio (-2.1%)
  • Laying rate (+1%) and egg mass (+2%) compared to control group.

These data show evidence for the high potency of plant-derived active ingredients and their synergistic effects in knowledge-based standardized phytogenic product formulations.

Antimicrobials: handle with care…

…is the slogan for the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2020. In this week, the World Health Organization appeals to handle antimicrobials with care to avoid the further spread of drug-resistant infections.

Is the use of antibiotics as careful as it should be? Feel free to discuss with us and leave your comment below.

Katharina Mayrhuber

Katharina Mayrhuber

I love to learn, discover and tell feed and food stories globally - using Social Media, visual communications and media relations.

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