In this article published by the National Hog Farmer, nutritionists and microbiome analysts from the University of Minnesota discuss what consequences antimicrobials can have on the gut microbiome.
What does microbiome mean?
Microbiome refers to all of the microbes present in an area. For example, gut microbiome is the entire population of microorganisms (most of the time bacteria) present in the intestinal tract.
The purpose of this research program is to study the effects antimicrobials can have on the bacterial populations present in the gut and how those changes influence the metabolites present in the pig.
What is a metabolite?
Metabolites are usually small molecules and are created by enzymatic reactions happening through the natural life of a cell or organism.
One of the effects of administering tylosin to pigs was the increased growth of bacteria producing short-chain fatty acids in the intestinal flora. The use of this antimicrobial also led to the development of Lactobacillus in the gut.
Relating changes in metabolites to the gut microbiome allows for a more complete understanding and investigation of the impact that antibiotics have in enhancing growth. Without completely understanding the mechanism of increased growth, antibiotic alternatives could be used inappropriately without much added benefit.