martes, 5 de junio de 2012

ARS highlights alternatives to antibiotics for animal agriculture

New technologies for treating and preventing diseases of animals 
As concerns grow about antibiotic-resistant pathogens in our food, environment, and hospitals, the Agricultural Research Service is trying to figure out the best alternatives for food animal producers, who have long relied on these miracle drugs for combating diseases and boosting feed efficiency.  
Though antibiotic resistance is a known consequence of antibiotic use in both humans and animals, agricultural use has come under greater scrutiny in recent years as more consumers take an interest in how their food is produced. According to the most recent estimates, around 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the United States each year are used in food animal production.
Vitamins, phytonutrients, and probiotics are all being explored as viable alternatives, according to this month's Agricultural Research magazine. Some of the findings will be presented by ARS researchers at a World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) conference in Paris in September. 
There is a need for new technologies to treat and prevent diseases of animals as well as recommendations that will advance strategies for growth promotion and health in livestock, poultry, and aquaculture.
At the BARC Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory, an ARS lab in Beltsville, avian immunologist has found that certain food supplements, probiotics, and phytonutrients can be effective in fighting off diseases like coccidiosis, a common parasitic disease. The USDA estimates that coccidiosis costs the domestic industry $600 million annually.   
Researchers are now working to apply the same technology to develop ways to treat intestinal bacterial infections caused by Clostridium without using antibiotics, according to ARS. 
ARS has been trying to figure out how to grow poultry without using drugs and enhance their innate immunity. One of those strategies is genetic improvement to identify genetic markers associated with enhanced innate immunity to enteric pathogens.
The team has also identified and patented an immune molecule called "NK lysin," a chicken protein that kills the parasite that causes coccidiosis and other troublesome parasites. 
For the past couple of years, ARS researchers have also studied whether phytochemicals derived from safflower, plums, peppers, cinnamon, and green tea can help enhance a chicken's immune system. 
Fuente: Dalia Clarisa Echeverri

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