Researchers Hope to Replace In-Feed Antibiotics with Modified Baker’s Yeast

Farmscape for March 11, 2024

Full Interview 13:07 Listen

Researchers with VIDO are confident modified yeast added to the diets of piglets can promote growth in the same manner as adding antibiotics to the feed but without the risk of antibiotic resistance. As part of research funded by the Saskatchewan Agriculture Development Fund, researchers with VIDO in partnership with B.C. based Renaissance Bioscience are examining the potential of adding modified baker’s yeast to the rations of piglets to deliver antimicrobial peptides and essential amino acids directly to the gut.
Dr. Heather Wilson, a Research Scientist with VIDO and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and the School of Public Health at the University of Saskatchewan, says the intent is to create feed supplements that will attack bacteria and viruses in the gut without the risk of antimicrobial resistance.

Quote-Dr. Heather Wilson-Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization:
Yeast is already used as a feed supplement so what we’re doing is using yeast as a feed supplement but we’re also putting in a protein on the surface of the yeast so that the yeast, once it travels from the mouth to the stomach to the small intestine it will attach itself to the wall of the small intestine and it’ll stay there for a couple of hours. It’ll eventually be degraded but in the meantime it’s localised to the small intestine and it’ll secrete these antimicrobial peptides which we hope will improve the piglet health, keep them nice and healthy, especially during the stressful time when the piglets are going from having mother’s milk to weaning.
It tends to be a very stressful time for pigs so if we can give them a little something extra to help their intestines to remain healthy it can increase their growth which will eventually lead to their better well being and hopefully they’ll gain weight faster and so it’ll be better for the producers as well.

Dr. Wilson says the work is in its early days but researchers believe that adding simple modified baker’s yeast to diets of piglets will boost their growth and improve their well being.

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