New paper investigates the antibacterial activity of animal feed additives

Dr cerith_jones

Dr Cerith Jones

Researchers in the Genetic and Molecular Research group have had a paper published in the Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM). The SfAM journals feature evidence-based reviews and original research papers and implement best practice in scientific publishing with a rigorous peer-review process.

The rise in antibiotic resistance requires the reduction of antibiotic use in all sectors. In animal production, many commercial alternatives to antibiotics have been developed for incorporation into feeds, but a lack of evidence on their antibacterial activity limits confidence in their application. In the paper, authors Dr Cerith Jones, PhD student Charlotte Neath and Naheeda Portocarero aim to compare the antibacterial activity of feed additives and active ingredients to better understand their usefulness.

Methods and Results

The antibacterial activity of 34 active ingredients and feed additives, including medium- and short-chain organic acids and essential oils, was tested against pure cultures of five bacterial swine pathogens. Antibacterial activity was observed using an agar plug diffusion method and quantified via broth microdilution. A diverse range of antibacterial activities were observed. The highest inhibitory activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus suis was exhibited by the C12 monoglyceride (0.49 mg ml−1). The monoglyceride of C12 was more effective than C12:0 against Strep. suis, but neither C12:0 nor its monoglyceride showed efficacy against the gram-negative micro-organisms tested. The most active against Escherichia coli were the C6:0 medium-chain organic acids and potassium diformate (1.95 mg ml−1). For Salmonella Typhimurium, potassium diformate, sodium diformate, and a blend of C8:0/C10:0 (each 1.96 mg ml−1), and for Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae, eugenol (0.49 mg ml−1) showed the most promising activity.


Dr Cerith Jones, a molecular microbiologist, said: "We identified broad-spectrum antibacterial activity, such as the C6:0 MCOA, and those with interesting narrow-spectrum activity, notably the killing of Strep. suis by C12 monoglyceride. We have identified additives that show the most promising bioactivity against specific pathogens.

"We broadly compare a large collection of feed additives and active ingredients for their antibacterial activity against a diverse panel of bacterial swine pathogens," continued Dr Jones. "This provides a solid base of evidence which can drive the development of feed supplementation strategies with the aim of reducing dependency on antibiotic use in swine production."

Download the paper here