2 April 1999

Probiotics can do the trick but…

PROBIOTICS might yet prove to be a substitute for antibiotic growth promoters in pig rations, but there are concerns about maintaining them as probiotics.

SAC Aberdeen microbiologist Kevin Hillman told delegates that when probiotics had no other organism to compete with they lost their efficacy.

"The problem is keeping them probiotic. It also seems as if the more active probiotics are the most volatile."

He also explained that there are concerns in the way experiments using probiotics are set up.

"When these trials use good diets they will get poor results. Also, where you are feeding a starch-based diet it will make everything in the gut grow."

But he is convinced that probiotics can work. "Its finding the one which will work in every situation that is difficult. Research also needs pulling together – there are too many people working on different strains in different countries."