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Gut Health And Microbiome

All animals have a gut full of microbiomes – bacteria, fungi and viruses. When the gut biome is properly balanced, it supports the body’s immune and digestive systems.

Researchers at Purina Animal Nutrition are studying microbiomes and looking for alternatives to help an animal maintain its health or to be able to naturally stave off bacterial infections.

Emily Otto-Tice is a swine nutritionist. She says the project includes collecting microbiome samples from various contact points on the animals.

"Whether that comes from their mouth, or oral samples, we’re looking at fecal samples, we’re looking at milk samples, we’re looking at underline tissue samples where the animals nurse to look at all the bacteria that can be on the skin of their dams," says Otto-Tice. "And, looking at what good bugs exist where they can overpopulate and reduce the effect of pathogenic population bacterias from taking over."

She says they’re trying to look at all aspects of the good, healthy bacteria in the gut and introduce those as feed additives or direct-fed microbials across all species.

"We are learning that there are certain bacterial populations that can be common for multiple species and they have beneficial effects. So, we’re trying to isolate those and find out, hey this works really well in the baby pig," she says. "They don’t scour when they get weaned from their mama and go on to dry feed, so let’s try to find more populations of these by creating a concentrated product in a form that can be delivered in the feed."