SF6024 - Evaluation of Essential Oils as an Alternative to Dietary Antibiotics to Control Food-borne Pathogens in Livestock
Joshua Gong, Food Research Program, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Summary of Research Results:
The emergence of super bugs (drug resistant bacteria) and drug residues in food are the two major food safety and human health concerns associated with drug use in agricultural production. Due to drug resistance concerns, feeding low levels of antibiotics to livestock for enhancing their growth and production performance purposes is no longer regarded as a normal production practice as it was viewed in the past. In fact, this practice will completely be banned in EU countries starting January, 2006.
As a result, developing alternatives to antimicrobial growth promoters (AGPs) has become urgent and a priority for the livestock industry to reduce prophylactic use of antibiotics. This is what exactly a research team, consisting of researchers from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, University of Guelph, Public Health Agency of Canada and Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, was doing over the past two and a half years. The team had investigated the potential of essential oils/compounds as alternatives to AGPs to be used in swine production. Following are the major findings.
In this study, sixty-six essential oils/compounds were tested for their ability to inhibit the growth of Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 and E. coli O157:H7. Sixteen out of 66 were found to have strong antimicrobial property. Among these sixteen oils/compounds that exhibited >=80% inhibition, nine were further studied for their antibacterial effects against S. Typhimurium DT104, E. coli O157:H7, and E. coli K88, the stability at pH 2.0, and the effect on the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Most of the oils/compounds demonstrated high efficacy against the pathogens with little inhibition towards lactobacilli and bifidobacteria which are beneficial bacteria, the members of the normal microflora in pig guts. These oils/compounds were also tolerant to low pH indicating that they will be effective under a low pH animal gut environment.
The study led the following conclusions:
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