October 12, 2016

12/10/2016: Are probiotics a second mother for young ruminants?

Lallemand Animal Nutrition presented its new ruminant study at the 5th Beneficial Microbes Conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands on October 10-12, 2016.

Early maternal separation affects rumen development

This unique event gathers international scientists focusing their research on beneficial microbes supporting the health and well-being of both humans and animals. Frédérique Chaucheyras-Durand, Ph.D., Research Manager for Lallemand Animal Nutrition and member of the advisory committee for the conference, chaired the session on young animals, which took place on Oct. 11. 

On Oct. 10, Dr. Chaucheyras-Durand presented a new study conducted at the French Agronomical Research Institute (INRA) concerning the establishment of the digestive microflora in young ruminants and the effect of probiotics during the session dedicated to pregnancy and early life in animals.

The importance of rumen microflora establishment

Dr. Chaucheyras-Durand explains, “In ruminants, the gastrointestinal microbiota is essential for digestion since it is the microbial fermentation occurring in the rumen that supplies the animal with essential sources of energy and nitrogen. A great diversity and abundance of microorganisms play a key role in plant biomass degradation. 

Young animals are born without a microbiota

Young animals are born without a microbiota. The factors influencing rumen microbial colonisation are not well known, but it is believed that repeated contacts with the dam or older animals play an important part. 

Early maternal separation could impair rumen microbial colonisation in early life, which would then affect rumen function and ultimately impact animal health and performance. In this context, probiotics could be used as a nutritional tool to optimize rumen microbial establishment. 

Based on this assumption, a study was conducted at INRA using newborn lambs fed milk replacer as a model of rumen microflora development. Thanks to investments in modern genomic technologies, we could further confirm the role of probiotics on rumen development.”

Early maternal separation affects rumen development

The study used DNA-based techniques (qPCR and amplicon sequencing) to study the microbiota abundance, diversity and composition at different time points between birth up to 60 days of age, looking in particular at functionally important populations such as fiber-degrading microorganisms in the presence, or not, of a symbiotic feed additive ─ which was a combination of Saccharomyces cerevisiae CNCM I-1077 and yeast metabolites. 

The results confirmed that early maternal separation had a negative impact on rumen colonization with key microbial populations. Indeed, no significant establishment of ciliate protozoa, fungi and Fibrobacter succinogenes was observed in lambs fed milk replacer. 

Probiotics help rumen and hindgut microflora establishment 


Dr. Chaucheyras-Durand concluded: “When the lambs received the symbiotic feed additive, in addition to milk replacer and to starter feed, we observed earlier rumen colonization by protozoa, anaerobic fungi and F. succinogenes, which are important players in fiber degradation. This result suggests that the additive accelerated the maturation of the rumen microbial ecosystem in young animals. 

This beneficial effect could positively impact rumen function and animal digestive performance. Moreover, the fecal population of Ruminococcus flavefaciens, another fiber-degrading bacterial species, was also increased with the supplement, suggesting a post-ruminal effect of the additives.”

This study supports and complements earlier work on the rumen specific live yeast strain S. cerevisiae CNCM I-1077 and its mode of action reported in more than 100 scientific publications to date. This study confirms benefits on the maturation of the rumen microbial ecosystem, which can result in a positive effect on animal performance and health both before and after weaning, in particular with an increase in grain intake and a reduced frequency of diarrhea. 

Read more HERE

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