August 24, 2015
The benefits of probiotics have been flooding the news for several years, but it’s not been until fairly recently that we’ve started to read about their many benefits in the animal kingdom. Last month, we wrote how scientists discovered that by supplementing Panda Bears with probiotics, they ate significantly less of their staple bamboo diet. This is a tremendous finding especially when bamboo is scarce, as it not only helps them to better adapt to their environment, but also potentially saves them from extinction. Another really important article was published even more recently on probiotics being fed to salmon and trout to inhibit the growth of Flavobacterium psychrophilum, this is an organism that causes Coldwater Disease.
Coldwater Disease is a bacterial disease affecting primarily salmon and trout, causing open lesions on the skin and fins. Unfortunately, it’s a disease that kills about a third of infected hatchery stock, and causes a tremendous loss to the worldwide $13.7 billon salmon aquaculture industry. It is equally devastating to the trout industry both in the U.S. and across the world. After searching 15 years for a way to combat this devastating disease, researchers at Washington State University (WSU) and the University of Idaho (UI) found an answer inside the fish itself.
Gut Bacteria To The Rescue
A research team, led by Dr. Kenneth Cain, and his partner, Dr. Douglas Call, were able to culture a bacteria from the fish’s gut (designated Enterobacter C6-6) and found that it inhibited the growth of the organism, Flavobacterium psychrophilum. They discovered that by adding C6-6 to the fish feed as a probiotic, they could limit the damage caused by Coldwater Disease.
While more funding is needed to understand why, the researchers know that C6-6 produces a toxin that kills the bacteria. A report of their work was published in the January 2015 issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology. This is a remarkable discovery that not only prevents economic loss to the aquaculture industry if an outbreak of Coldwater Disease occurs, but it also helps cut back on the use of antibiotics. If we can eliminate the overuse use of antibiotics, even in the animal kingdom, we all benefit. If you recall, we’ve written about how antibiotics affect our food supply here.
While we’re only just beginning to learn how supplementing with probiotics is beneficial for Chinese pandas and fish, we have a wealth of experience when it comes to your pets. Read our previous blog to learn how Natren probiotics help your pets.
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