Canadian researchers study beneficial gut bacteria
Co-led by Ontario Veterinary College faculty members from the University of Guelph, a nationwide team of researchers are looking into the benefits of healthy gut bacteria populations as a means to improve health and performance in pigs.
Researchers Vahab Farzan, Brandon Lillie and Robert Friendship are more than halfway through a five-year study, which involves evaluating thousands of faecal samples from 24 farms in five Canadian provinces. Samples are collected throughout the pigs lifecycle from birth to slaughter. The aim is to identify which bacterial populations are most important to the animals' development.
“We are optimistic that by discovering beneficial gut bacteria in pigs, we will be able to help pig farmers tremendously in the long run,” said researcher Vahab Farzan.
In the long term, the researchers hope to find bacteria that not only promote growth and health, but also help to lower farmers' reliance on antimicrobials.
Using the knowledge gained from the study, the team also hopes to develop a probiotic that could be used to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in pig guts.