Ever wondered why antibiotics are good, bad or evil? Well, if you need an orientation session with the use and misuse of antibiotics, this is your space to read.
We all know definitions are important, so here we go. For a technically sound person the word ‘Antibiotics’ are agents which work against microorganisms. To put it into lay man’s perspective, these are substances/compounds which kill or slow down the growth of harmful bacteria, fungi or similar bugs that thrive on other living or dead things. By the end of that “Layman term” explanation we would have understood that there isn’t a layman term for antibiotics and you don’t have to Einstein, or for that matter Sheldon your way (Courtesy big bang theory) to understand the science behind antibiotics.
To make things clearer let’s classify them into four practical categories (Oh, I would love to classify them into seven different ways so that you need to classify the classification types to complicate matters, but this is not what we intend to graduate in).
- Chemically – Molecular structures (Beta lactams, Quinones, Aminoglycosides……)
- Target microorganisms (Antibacterial, Anti-fungal, Antiprotozoal… )
- Mechanism of action(Cell wall, enzyme, DNA….)
- Evolutionary ( 1st generation, 2nd gen, New world )
Use of Antibiotics in the feed industry
Firstly, not all antibiotics is used as feed additives for animals and used in humans for treatment. The importance of this fact is rivaling many issues on banning of antibiotics as feed additives. We will touch base with this statement again when we deal with the statement of antibiotic resistance. In the livestock industry antibiotics are used primarily for three reasons
- Treatment of bacterial, fungal and other infectious diseases.
- Prevention of infections, as a precaution in feed compulsion.
- Growth promotion, to improve final body weight of birds raised for meat.
Many antibiotics used in the treatment of livestock used for meat purpose are the same antibiotics used in humans.
These include a major share of quinolones. Although the figures below in the table reflect otherwise one should also consider that these antibiotics given under the treatment regime are given for a small 4 or 5 day schedule and often used in very small quantities. If proper withdrawal periods have used these antibiotics are excreted from the body of the animal well before slaughter. The table below shows us the volume compartmentalization of antibiotic use.
|Use by volume||Humans||Animal|
|Pencilins||44 %||6 %|
|Quinolones||9%||less than 1%|
In the next blog we learn more about antibiotic resistance and how it impacts us