About this Research Topic
Antibiotics, ever since their discovery, have been widely used in livestock not only for therapeutic, but also for preventive purposes, which contributed considerably to the selection and spread of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms in the environment. These microorganisms can reach humans through the food chain; the use of antibiotics in farms has therefore been banned in European countries since 2016.
To help address this worldwide concern, the use of LAB-probiotic strains represents an efficient and promising alternative to the antibiotic treatment. Some bacteriocins show desirable properties for in vivo applications, such as stability at low pH and high temperature, simple production and extraction processes, and little (if any) inhibitory activity towards eukaryotic cells. Particularly in the context of animal trials, bacteriocins and bacteriocin-producing bacteria may therefore be useful to optimize animal nutrition and health; for example through the manipulation of ruminal fermentation or influence of GIT microbiota, consequently influencing enteric pathogens.
Current research indicates that the application of viable microorganisms to livestock feed can improve animal performance and reduce pathogen populations in both humans and animals. This direct-fed microbials technology may therefore support the profitability and safety of livestock production and offer meaningful alternatives for natural and organic production. The introduction of probiotic preparations as an anti-antibiotic strategy presents a safe and efficient method to improve food production in a manner called “sustainable intensification”. Further research, based on modern molecular techniques, is needed for a more accurate characterization and safety assessment of the use of probiotic bacteria for these purposes.
This Research Topic focuses on studies (including Original Research, Perspectives, Mini Reviews, Commentaries and Opinion papers) that investigate and discuss:
• Identification of the appropriate bacterial strains for specific applications in livestock.
• Function and mechanisms of action of potential probiotic candidates and /or their bacteriocins.
• Identification of the appropriate dosage for specific applications.
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