Overly Theoretical? Or a Valuable Science?
Gut health is key to animal performance – intestinal immunity and the intestinal barrier function are known to influence about three-quarters of an animal’s total immunity.
With the shift away from antibiotic growth promoters, holistic approaches to animal husbandry have put the focus on improved farm management and biosecurity, along with the potential benefits of novel growth promoters. To understand what happens at the cellular level, animal science has turned to the “Omics” – an emerging field of technologies such as genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics. These so-called omicstechnologies have been applied to the study of antibiotic resistance and the effects of novel growth promoters on multi-resistance bacteria for instance. When gut health is compromised by poor nutrition or disease challenges, the animal’s immune system kicks into gear, a biological response that diverts precious energy and nutrients – as much as 10% – away from growth performance.