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There is no doubt that Probiotics (DFM’s) are the future of the global feed industry. Many antibiotics and ionophores are being ‘banned’ in countries around the world as consumers opt for more ‘natural’ traceability. Historically, compared to antibiotics, Probiotics lacked science and data to support the growing evidence of results through many areas of animal productivity. Today, this data is becoming more and more available as nutritionists, feed companies and industry leaders see unquestionable value in these products.


DFM is a combination of ruminant specific microorganisms that promotes proper rumen micro flora function and growth for a more stable and effective digestive tract. DFMs are very effective, and with an improved rumen environment it can lead to higher production, allows for better feed efficiency and reduces the risk of pathogenic microbes becoming established in the digestive system to improve overall animal health. In addition, stable digestive tracts are better equipped to absorb required nutrients needed for crucial biological functions such as reproduction. 

The concept of DFMs began in the 1950s when researchers observed a positive growth response in animals fed antibiotics.  This led scientists to theorize that intestinal microflora play an important role in the growth of animals.  Further research determined a healthy intestinal tract consists of microflora in a delicate balance between two general types of microorganisms, beneficial and potentially pathogenic.

The coexistence of beneficial and potentially pathogenic bacteria is an important factor in the general health of an animal.  If this balance is upset, the number of beneficial bacteria could decline while the number of potentially pathogenic bacteria could increase, compromising the animal’s health and growth potential.  Feeding DFMs containing live, beneficial bacteria can help to maintain this balance, which may help optimize animal health and growth performance.


Proposed DFM Modes of Action

Production of organic acids – DFMs have been found to produce a number of organic acids.  The most common are lactic, acetic, and formic acids, which inhibit intestinal pathogens.  Organic acids also serve as energy sources to the animal or other beneficial bacteria.

Production of antimicrobials – Research has reported certain strains of bacteria produce bacteriocins, antibiotics, hydrogen peroxide, and other compounds that inhibit intestinal pathogens.

Competitive exclusion – The basic idea behind competitive exclusion is that the beneficial DFM organisms occupy the attachment sites that potentially pathogenic bacteria use and thereby prevent them from colonizing the intestinal tract.

Stimulation of immune response – Research has reported that when animals are fed certain strains of bacteria, the activity of their immune systems increases.

Enzyme activity – Beneficial bacteria, especially Bacillus, produce a variety of enzymes.  Proteases, amylases, lipases, and glycosidases are just a few of the enzymes which may be produced.  This may also explain improvements in feed efficiency that have been observed when certain DFMs are fed.  Bifidobacterium bifidum produces a DNA polymerase that has been reported to be important in repairing damaged cells.

Reductions of toxic amines – Amines, produced by some intestinal microbes, are irritating and toxic, and have been associated with diarrhea.  Lactic acid bacteria have been found to reduce the level of amines in the gut and to neutralize enterotoxins.



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