Antibiotics as Growth promoters –is a bane or a boon?

To answer this question it is important to develop an understanding about, what is the function of an antibiotic and how it does exactly promote growth in the animals. Also, how natural alternatives can effectively prove to be a better substitute.

Antibiotics are antimicrobial drugs that are used to inhibit growth of pathogenic microorganisms that often cause a variety of diseases in animals; hence they are used as therapeutic drugs.

However, there has been the use of antibiotics in the poultry industry, in order to improve meat production through increased feed conversion, growth rate promotion and disease prevention. The postulated mechanisms for growth promotion using antibiotics are as follows-

  1. Antibiotic Growth Promoters (AGP) inhibit endemic subclinical infection
  2. Reduce growth depressing metabolites like ammonia or bile degrading products produced by microbes
  3. Reduce microbial use of nutrients
  4. Enhance uptake and use of nutrients because the intestinal wall of AGP fed animal is thinner

However, prolonged use of antibiotics results into resistant microbial strains that pose the greater threat not only to the animals, but also humans at large when these strains enter the food chain. Hence the use of antibiotics should be highly restricted.

An effective solution to the addressed issue would be the use of natural derivatives that can exhibit similar growth promoting effects in the animal without posing a threat to the food chain.

Herbofloxin is a Natural Growth Promoter, composed of several natural origin derivatives, which work in conjunction to produce effects similar to AGP.    

These plant-derived compounds mainly exert their beneficial effects as follows:

  1. Disrupt cell membrane of microbes
  2. Interfere with virulence properties of the microbes by increasing the hydrophobicity, which influences surface characteristics of microbial cells and make them susceptible to immune system
  3. Stimulates growth and proliferation of beneficial bacteria (e.g., lactobacilli and bifidobacteria) in the gut
  4. Act as immunostimulants
  5. Protects intestine from microbial attack
  6. Enhances the production and/or activity of the digestive enzymes
  7. Stimulate the proliferation and growth of absorptive cells (villus and crypt) in the gastrointestinal tract and increases nutrient absorption

Thus the cumulative result of these actions shows growth promoting effects on the gut of the animal that mimics the effect of AGP. Hence Natural Growth Promoters like Herbofloxin prove to be effective AGP Replacers.

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