Prebiotics are nutrient sources that favor the growth of beneficial bacteria within the host animal, while probiotics are live cultures of bacteria that are fed to improve digestive system health. Using a combination of probiotic and prebiotic strategies to achieve a healthy outcome is referred to as synbiotics. There is some evidence that suggests that the use probiotics and prebiotics may improve the health of monogastrics, but their potential benefits for ruminants are not well understood. Short- and long-term outcomes of these treatments for ruminant productivity, metabolic efficiency, feed digestibility and food safety have not yet been assessed.
Research currently underway and funded by the National Check-off and Canada’s Beef Science Cluster will help the Canadian beef industry to better evaluate and understand the potential of prebiotic, probiotic, and synbiotic approaches to improve animal productivity and food safety.
To learn more about this research, see the BCRC fact sheet: http://www.beefresearch.ca/factsheet.cfm/exploring-potential-benefits-of-prebiotic-probiotic-and-synbiotic-use-in-cattle-139
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