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Prebiotics: The New Feed Supplement for Dairy Calf

International Journal of Livestock Research eISSN : 2277-1964 NAAS Score -5.36
Vol 7 (8) Aug’17 DOI 10.5455/ijlr.20170610051314
Review Article
Prebiotics - The New Feed Supplement for Dairy Calf
A. K. Singh1*, Shilpi Kerketta2, R. K. Yogi1, Abhay Kumar3 and Lamella Ojha4
1Ph D Scholar (Animal Nutrition), N.D.R.I, Karnal, Haryana, INDIA
2Scientist (LPM), KVK, Neemach, INDIA
3Scientist (LPM), KVK Balrampur, Chhattissgarh, INDIA
4MVSc Scholar (Animal Nutrition), N.D.R.I, Karnal, Haryana, INDIA
*Corresponding author:
Rec. Date:
May 06, 2017 12:35
Accept Date:
Jun 10, 2017 17:13
Published Online:
July 24, 2017
There are many factors such as dietary and management which, have been shown to markedly affect the
structure and activities of gut microbial communities in livestock animals. Under stressed conditions,
direct-fed microbials may be used to reduce the risk or severity of scours caused by disruption of the
normal intestinal environment. . Prebiotics are nondigestible dietary ingredients, usually oligosaccharides
(OS), which provide a health benefit to the host by directly modulating the gut microbiota. The observable
benefits of prebiotics may also be minimal in generally healthy calves In coming days, it is expected that
prebiotics could be the part of diets in both ruminants and non-ruminants for enabling modulation of gut
microfloravis a vis animals productivity in ecological ways. This review mainly focused on the benefits of
probiotics/prebiotics on the GI microbial ecosystem in ruminants, which is deeply involved in nutrition and
health for the animal. However, it is necessary to conduct more research with prebiotics as feed additives
to understand the detailed mechanisms of action and identify better alternatives for animal production and
Key words: Calf, Gut Microbiota, Health, Prebiotics, Productivity
How to cite: Singh, A., Kerketta, S., Yogi, R., Kumar, A., & Ojha, L. (2017). Prebiotics: The New Feed
Supplement for Dairy Calf. International Journal of Livestock Research, 7(8), 1-17.
It is well known that dairy calves are future herd. So the performance of the calf is totally dependent on
the managemental practices during first three months. It plays a key role in the economy of dairy farms
because they increase operating costs and reduce long-term productivity of the animal. Hence, the
maintenance of calf health and optimizing calf growth are key objectives especially at early stages of life
(Ghosh and Mehla, 2012).The dairy calf encounters potentially stressful situations in its first few months
International Journal of Livestock Research eISSN : 2277-1964 NAAS Score -5.36
Vol 7 (8) Aug’17 DOI 10.5455/ijlr.20170610051314
of life such as weaning, and commingling. Stress can lead to suppression of the immune system and
increase the risk of disease in the presence of a pathogen (Salak-Johnson and McGlone, 2014).Weaning
calves suffer from stress of digestive tract upset because of the shift from a liquid to a solid diet and
change in digestive tract microflora. This diet transition sometimes results in establishment of less
desirable intestinal microflora leading to poor performance (Bach et al., 2011). Further, there are more
disturbances in rumen microbiota by use of various antibiotics for combating the tract infection. In
extension the commingling phase of a dairy calf’s life, the transition from individual housing to group
housing, has been shown to increase the risk of bovine respiratory disease, decrease leukocyte function,
and decrease average daily gain (Hulbert and Ballou, 2012). These disease and conditions are so stressful
that calf is sometimes unable to cope up and may lead to mortality or stunted growth in future life. So to
overcome these situations various preventive measures as well treatments are practiced. In recent years
there have been many advances in the prevention and treatment of calf problems. Here at this point
nutritional quality of a feed needs to be improved. As nutritional quality is not only influenced by nutrient
content but also by many other aspects such as, hygiene, content of anti-nutritional factors, digestibility,
palatability and effect on intestinal health. Hence, the use of feed additives has been an important part of
achieving this success (Fanelli, 2012).Feed additives are materials that are used to enhance the
effectiveness of nutrients and exert their effects in the gut or on the gut wall cells to the animal
(McDonald et al., 2010). A large number of feed products as additives are available to prevent scours and
promote gut health and animal growth rates. They are used for the purpose of promoting animal growth
through their effect in increasing feed quality and palatability (Fanelli, 2012). The actual benefits of these
products are hard to quantify, but clearly they modify and protect the gut health in periods of stress and
disease. There are a number of feed additives that are used in animal feeds such as antibiotics, probiotics,
oligosaccharides, enzymes and organic acids. Along with this the most common milk additives are
probiotics, prebiotics, rennet, sodium bentonite, antibiotics, vitamins and minerals (Schouten, 2005).
Since long time among the various feed additives antibiotic is the most frequently and extensively used in
livestock diets due to its therapeutic importance (Cho et al., 2011). Antibiotics helps in checking
diarrhoea and enhance body weight gain by modifying gut microflora in growing calves (Novak and Katz,
2006).But the growing concern of the consumers for clean and safe products have restricted the use of
antibiotic as feed additive as growth promoters. Hence this led to initiation of many alternative strategies
for maximizing production by maintaining the animals health and performance. At the same time
maximizing health and well-being of the animals and minimize the impact of the industry on the
environment (Fanelli, 2012). Among feed additives prebiotics as a natural additive can be used as an
alternative to antibiotics maintain optimum ruminal digestion of feed.
International Journal of Livestock Research eISSN : 2277-1964 NAAS Score -5.36
Vol 7 (8) Aug’17 DOI 10.5455/ijlr.20170610051314
The Introduction of Prebiotics
Prebiotics are defined as ‘non-digestible food ingredients that beneficially affects the host by selectively
stimulating the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon that can
improve host health’ (Gibson and Roberfroid, 1995). Prebiotics are selectively fermented, dietary
ingredients that result in specific changes in the composition and/or activity of the gastrointestinal
microbiota, thus conferring benefit(s) upon host health. Unlike probiotics, prebiotics target the
microbiota already present within the ecosystem, acting as a ‘food’ for the target microbes with
beneficial consequences for host (Hardy et al., 2013). The use of prebiotics is a promising approach for
enhancing the role of endogenous beneficial microbiota in the gut. One of the reasons prebiotics are
effective is because they are resistant to gastric acidity, absorption, and hydrolysis by enzymes produced
in the gastrointestinal tract (Patel and Goyal, 2012). They are, however, fermented by intestinal
microflora which promotes proliferation of commensal microorganisms. Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria
are the most common microbial target genera in prebiotics application. A growing interest exists in the
health-promoting benefits of prebiotics. Multiple mechanisms of action for prebiotics have been
postulated, particularly enhancement of probiotic growth in the gut (Macfarlane et al., 2006).
Bifidobacteria produce various glycosidases which are enzymes that hydrolyze glycosidic bonds of
polysaccharides like most prebiotics, hence prebiotics’ ability to be readily fermented (Russo et al.,
2012). The fermentation products of prebiotics by intestinal microflora also provide benefit by immune
modulation, improved energy efficiency and digestibility, and decreased intestinal pH which suppresses
pathogenic bacteria (Mizota, 1996; Roodposhti and Dabiri, 2012). Prebiotics themselves have a positive
influence on immune parameters in the gut-associated lymphoid tissues, secondary lymphoid tissues,
and peripheral circulation (Bodera, 2008). Prebiotics may promote T Helper 1 and regulatory T cell-
dependent immune responses over T helper 2 responses (Patel and Goyal, 2012). Types of prebiotics
used in the livestock industry include indigestible sugars, ex. fructooligosaccharides (FOS),
galactooligosacchardies, mannan oligosaccharides, beta glucans, inulin and lactulose (Gibson et al.,
1995; Kleesen et al., 2001).All the above probiotics have their own function and are helpful in
improving the health and performance of calves.
Mannan Oligosaccharides
Production and Composition
Mannan oligosaccharides are short-chain, low molecular weight carbohydrate fragments of the yeast cell
wall, particularly Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Mannans represent approximately 30% of the cell wall
weight and are found on the outer parts of the cell wall (Kollár et al., 1997). They are comprised of many
International Journal of Livestock Research eISSN : 2277-1964 NAAS Score -5.36
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α-1, 2 and α-1, 3 N-linked glycan side chains attached to a α-1, 6 linked mannose monomer backbone
(Kollár et al., 1997). To obtain these cell wall derivatives, yeast cells are lysed and the yeast culture that
is obtained is centrifuged to isolate the cell wall components. The cell wall components are then washed
and spray dried (Spring et al., 2000). The most important antigenic component of the cell wall are the
mannans of the yeast cell surface (Ballou, 1970).
One of the primary functions of mannan oligosaccharides is to provide competitive binding for gram
negative bacteria. Gram negative bacteria have mannose-specific type-1 fimbriae that attach to D-
mannose receptors on the epithelium of the gastrointestinal tract (Friman et al., 1996; Ofek et al., 1977).
The presence of mannan oligosaccharides can provide an alternate binding site for these pathogens which
then block them from colonizing the epithelium and the complex exits the tract without causing harm
(Spring, 2000).Mannanoligosaccharides have the ability to alter the composition of the intestinal flora,
transport time, digestibility, absorption, and intestinal health of calves in this way (McGuirk, 2008).
Improved intestinal health and the inhibition of pathogenic microbes may contribute to smaller fecal
scores and fewer incidence of scours. Pathogenic bacteria produce toxins that cause intestinal
hyperactivity, secretion, and diarrhea (Giannella, 1983). In addition to competitive binding, mannan
oligosaccharides may also promote immune function such as phagocytosis and oxidative burst
(Magalhães et al., 2008). A potential mechanism for the immunomodulatory effects of mannan
oligosaccharides was described by Franklin et al., 2005. The authors proposed that collectins may be
responsible for this immunomodulatory function. One of the three types of collectins present in cattle are
mannose-binding proteins that can bind to mannose, N-acetylmannosamine, or N-acetylglucosamine.
Mannanoligosaccharides may promote the production of these mannose binding proteins. After binding,
this complex can act as an opsonin and improve phagocytosis or activate thecomplement system (Neth et
al., 2002).
Beta Glucans
Production and Composition
Beta glucans are other carbohydrate components of the yeast cell wall of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Beta glucans are also components of fungi and cereal grains like barley and oats (McGuirk, 2010). Beta
glucans are glucose polymers consisting of β-1, 3 and β-1, 6 linked D-glucopyranosyl units (Wang et al.,
2008).They account for 50 to 60% of the yeast cell wall weight. In contrast from mannan
oligosaccharides, glucans are found towards the inside of the cell wall. They provide structure and
rigidity to the cell wall that allows organization of the other cell wall components (Kollár et al., 1997).
International Journal of Livestock Research eISSN : 2277-1964 NAAS Score -5.36
Vol 7 (8) Aug’17 DOI 10.5455/ijlr.20170610051314
The efficacy of beta glucans may be modulated by the degree of branching, the molecular mass, and the
tertiary structure (Russo et al., 2012).
Beta glucans that are large in molecular weight have been found to directly affect phagocytic, cytotoxic,
and antimicrobial activities of leukocytes, particularly macrophages. They also promote oxidative burst
responses by helping to produce reactive oxygen and nitrogen intermediates and clear apoptotic cells by
up-regulating the FS receptor (Gantner et al., 2005; Brown and Gordon, 2003). In addition to promoting
innate immune responses, betaglucans increase production of proinflammatory cytokines and
chemokines. Cytokines and chemokines stimulated by beta glucan-activated cells include IL-1β, IL-6,
and TNF-α (Vetvicka and Yvin, 2004). These cytokines and chemokines aid in the recruitment of
additional leukocytes to the site of infection.
The mechanism by which beta glucans can stimulate these immune responses is credited to the Dectin-1
receptor. The Dectin-1 receptor is expressed on monocytes, macrophages, neutrophils, dendritic cells,
and splenic T cells and can recognize carbohydrates with β-1,3 andβ-1,6 glucan linkages (Sonck et al.,
2009). When beta glucan binds to Dectin-1, the motif becomes phosphorylated, which sends a signal to
induce phagocytosis and respiratory burst (Brown and Gordon, 2003). On the other hand, cytokine and
chemokine production may be attributed to Toll-like receptor 2 (Brown and Gordon, 2003). To produce
TNF-α and IL-12, both Dectin-1 and Toll-like receptor 2 were required. TNF-α has many functions, one
of them being to aid in the oxidative burst response of neutrophils.IL-12 is important in stimulating
production of IFN-γ and promoting the T helper 1 immune response (Manetti et al., 1993).
Production and Composition
Inulin is a natural b-(2-1)-linked fructo-oligosaccharide with up to 60 units common in plants used in the
Western diet (Van Loo et al., 1995).Inulin belong to a class of carbohydrates known as fructans. The
main sources of inulin that are used are chicory and Jerusalem artichoke. Purified inulin can also be
produced from tubers of the Jerusalem artichoke or Chicory. It contains 610% sugars, such as glucose,
fructose and sucrose, which are native to the chicory roots (Niness, 1999). Inulin belongs to the fructan
group. This consists of fructose subunits linked by β-2, 1 bonds containing, at the reducing end, a single
molecule of glucose. Glucose is linked by α-1, 2 bonds to a fructose chain (Kolida and Gibson, 2007). β-
2,1- linkages not only determine the specific properties of inulin, but also protect it from digestion in the
upper part of GIT (gastrointestinal tract) and are responsible for its reduced caloric value and the effect
of dietary fiber (Niness, 1999).
International Journal of Livestock Research eISSN : 2277-1964 NAAS Score -5.36
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Inulin has effects on immune system either directly or indirectly. An indirect effect of inulin as
prebiotics is to the stimulation of the development of beneficial gut microbiota strains, and the inhibition
of the proliferation of pathogenic bacteria. This causes changes in composition of the intestinal
microfloral population like by increasing the number of bifidobacteria, there will be increased
competition with pathogenic bacteria for binding sites on the intestinal epithelium and for nutrients, thus
inhibiting survival of the pathogenic strains. Further the beneficial gut microbiota bacteria may also
cross the intestinal barrier into the Peyer’s patches, and activate immune cells there (Berg,
1985).However, the direct effect involves the stimulatory effect on phagocytosis carried out by the
phagocytic cells in blood (Wójcik et al., 2007), as well as non-specific mechanisms of humoral
immunity (Milewski et al., 2007).
Inulin also helps in production of Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA)from the fermentation of dietary fiber
which also have significant impact on the immune system by acidification of the colonic environment,
acidification of the colon favoring mucin production as well as binding to SCFA receptors on immune
cells within the gut-associated lymphoid tissues(GALT) (Lomax and Calder, 2009).The increased
concentration of SCFA results in a higher number (Kelly-Quagliana et al., 1998) of natural killer (NK)
cells and stimulates their activity. It is believed that inulin enhanced with oligofructose (OF) causes
beneficial changes in the immune function of GALT (Roller et al., 2004).It has been found in the earlier
studies that inulin enriched with oligofructose enhances the cytotoxicity of NK cells produced in the
spleen, intensifies cytokine production by spleen cells, and has stimulating properties on the immune
response to carcinogenic agents (Watzl et al., 2005).
Lactulose is a semi-synthetic disaccharide (Schumann, 2002) that is mainly fermented by beneficial
bacteria like lactobacilli or bifidobacteria (Mitsuoka et al., 1987). Lactulose a “bifidus factor” is
composed of galactose and fructose, which can be produced by the isomerization of lactose. It is a
prebiotic carbohydrate which stimulates the growth of health-promoting bacteria in the gastrointestinal
tract, such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli and at the same time inhibits growth of pathogenic bacteria
such as Salmonella. Lactulose is generally prepared from an alkaline solution of lactose. The glucose
(Glu) moiety of lactose is isomerized to Fru, leading to the lactulose production. Different reactions and
schemes for the production of lactulose have been developed. Not only chemical isomerization, but also
enzymatic isomerization methods utilizing b-galactosidases have been developed (Schuster-Wolff-
Bühring et al., 2010).
International Journal of Livestock Research eISSN : 2277-1964 NAAS Score -5.36
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Lactulose as a prebiotics have a positive effect on feed intake and body weight in calves. It has been
reported that the average daily milk replacer intake in pre weaned calves was significant higher in
feeding group with lactulose. An increased intake of crude protein and energy was achieved in calves,
due to the feeding of lactulose. Further a positive trend ongrowth was observed with increase average
daily gain (ADG) (Fleige et al., 2007). In addition it was also reported that here was significantly
increased feed consumption and a tendency for improved daily weight gain for calves fed 3% lactulose
and a probiotic bacteria strain with their milk replacer (Fleige et al., 2007). In accordance to the longer
villi lactulose also tended to increase the number of proliferative cells in ileum. Lactulose alters the
microbial balance and the biochemical composition of caecal contents in animals. Several in-vivo
studies have demonstrated that lactulose favours the growth of gram positive cocci and rods mostly
belonging to the genera Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus (Bouhnik et al., 2004), while bacterial counts
of galactosidase- negative microorganisms like subspecies of the genera Clostridium and Bacteroides
have been shown to decrease (Hoffmann and Bircher, 1969; Mizota et al., 2002). In extension
metabolism of lactulose leads to an enhanced production of acetic acid, lactic acid, gas, short chain fatty
acids (SCFA) and the caecal pH has been shown to drop down to pH-values of about 5.0 (MacFarlane et
al., 2006). Further lactulose increased permeability of intestinal mucosa and an enhanced solubility of
minerals in the colon at low pH (MacFarlane et al., 1991; Seki et al., 2007).
Effects of Prebiotics on Calf Performance
Dairy calf performance is important for productivity later in life. Prebiotics have been shown to improve
performance measures such as average daily gain, feed intake, and digestibility. Prebiotics mainly used
in calves feeding have carbohydrate as main nutrient which produces volatile fatty acids, which further
may increase nutrient digestibility and subsequently increase feed efficiency. However, in a study
conducted with calves fed mannan oligosaccharides, no differences in volatile fatty acid production
were observed (Hill et al., 2009) and no differences were seen in dogs supplemented with
fructooligosaccharides or mannan oligosaccharides (Swanson et al., 2002).
In a study, calves supplemented with beta glucan had increased rumen pH and nutrient digestibility
(Kim et al., 2011). Mannan oligosaccharides (MOS) have improved performance in nursery pigs
(Dvorak et al., 1998) and weight gain and grain intake in dairy calves (Dvorak and Jacques, 1997). In
addition, investigation continues into the potential relationship between oligosaccharides and human
intestinal function (Jenkins et al., 1999) and their role in modulation of human gastrointestinal
microflora (Gibson, 1999).Increased average daily gain in weight and a tendency for improved feed
efficiency in calves was also found when fed galactosyl-lactose in milk replacer (Quigley et al., 1997).
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Similarly, an increase in body weight gain per calf per day, feed intake per calf per day, and feed
conversion efficiency were observed by Ghosh and Mehla (2012) when calves were administered 4 g/d
of a mannan oligosaccharide supplement. Although feed cost per calf per day was increased with
prebiotic supplementation, these costs were off-set by the increases in performance. Studies comparing
prebiotic supplement to antibiotics, found no differences in overall body weight gain, feed intake, or
feed efficiency, indicating that prebiotics may be a viable alternative for prophylactic antibiotic use
(Donovan et al., 2002). The synthetic disaccharide lactulose feeding has the tendency to increase
growth performance of preruminant calves and improves the intestinal microflora by stimulating the
growth of selected probiotic bacteria in the gut. In a trial conducted by Fleige et al. (2007), it was
found that the average daily live weight gain tended to be higher for group fed with lactulose at the rate
of 3% (1350 g/day) than group with no lactulose (1288 g/day). There is evidence that prebiotics may
modulate feeding behavior, indicated by results of studies showing improved body weight gain or feed
intake. In addition, studies have shown that prebiotic-supplemented calves increase intake at a faster
rate than un-supplemented calves (Heinrichs et al., 2003; Terré et al., 2006; Morrison et al., 2010).
Feeding fructooligosaccharides enhances the growth performance of veal calves by decreasing feed
conversion ratios and increasing carcass weight (Grand et al., 2013).There is down regulation of mRNA
expression of genes involved in inflammation in the intestine of the preruminant calves when they are
supplemented milk with the prebiotics inulin and lactulose (Masanetz et al., 2011). Prebiotics have
pronounced role in many minerals absorption and transportation. Prebiotics increase the production of
Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA) which shift the lumen pH towards acidic and, thereby increasing the
solubilisation of minerals. Butyrate acts as an energy source for intestinal epithelial cells and improves
their absorptive capacity.
Generally, prebiotics increase the absorption of Ca, Mg, Fe, Zn and Cu. They also increase the
absorption of Na+ and colonic water. Other researchers have observed an increased capacity of calcium
transporters (calbindin) in the colon (Ohta et al., 1998). Agave fructansas prebiotics prevents bone loss
and improves bone formation (Garcia-Vieyra et al., 2014).Further it was seen that the iron
bioavailability in corn and soybean meal was increased due to prebiotic supplementation (Yasuda et al.,
Effect of Prebiotics on Calf Health
Prebiotics such as mannan oligosaccharides prevent attachment of pathogenic bacteria whereas mannan
oligosaccharides and beta glucanscan improve the immune system of the calf. (FOS) in combination
with spray-dried bovine serum to calves reduced the incidence and severity of enteric disease (Quigley
et al., 2002). It has been suggested that this sugar prevents the adhesion of Enterobacteriaceae, most
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notably Escherichia coli and Salmonella, to the intestinal epithelium (Heartmink et al., 1997).
Supplementation of MOS, FOS, and GL may improve the growth performance of calves in both the
pre- or post weaning stage.
Indeed many studies have shown an increase in normal fecal scores and a decrease in the incidence of
scours with prebiotic supplementation. Pre-weaned calves fed milk replacer supplemented with
mannanoligosacchardies reported to have a good fecal scores compared with calves that received no
supplement (Heinrichs et al., 2003). Dairy calves fed a yeast culture derived from Saccharomyces
cerevisiae had more incidences of normal fecal scores and had fewer incidences of fever, diarrhea, and
health disorders as compared to controls (Magalhães et al., 2007). Furthermore, Ghosh and Mehla (2012)
reported that a mannan oligosaccharide supplementation reduced fecal coliform counts. Prebiotics may
exert cancer protective effects at the cellular level following SCFA formation. SCFA induce apoptosis in
colon adenoma and cancer cell lines (Hague et al., 1994).
Lactulose has an effect on the morphology of intestine. It was found that there was a reduction of ileal
villus height and decrease in the depth of the crypts when compared with control, due to lactulose
treatment of approximately 14% lactulose fed group (L1) and 20% lactulose fed group (L3). (Fleige et
al., 2007)
Effect of Prebiotics on Immune Function
The administration of prebiotics has been associated with immunomodulatory effects encompassing
innate, adaptive immunity as a result of the interaction with the microbiota (Gibson, 2008). Most
information about the effects of prebiotics on the immune system comes from experimental trials with
inulin and FOS. Prebiotics act like growth factor to particular commensal bacteria, which inhibit the
adherence and invasion of pathogens in the colonic epithelia by competing for the same glycoconjugates
present on the surface of epithelial cells, altering the colonic pH, favoring the barrier function, improving
the mucus production, producing short-chain fatty acids and inducing cytokine production (Korzenik and
Podolsky, 2006). The gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) is the biggest tissue in the immune system
comprising 60% of all lymphocytes in the body. It contains Peyer's patches (PP), lamina propria (LP) and
intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL) forming a unique immune network (MowatandViney, 1997). PP
contains follicle-associated epithelium (FAE) that covers M-cells responsible for transporting the antigen
onto the lymphatic tissue where dendritic, Tand B-cells are found (Mowat, 2003). LP is the region
between the epithelium and the muscle and contains mast cells, dendritic cells, macrophages and B- and
T-cells (MacDonald, 2003). The consumption of prebiotics can modulate immune parameters in GALT,
secondary lymphoid tissues and peripheral circulation (Bodera, 2008). Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is
a major cause of morbidity and mortality in premature infants. Prebiotic administration manipulates the
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intestinal bacterial community, accelerating the growth of commensal bacteria. Prebiotic supplemented
formula increase stool colony counts of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli in preterm neonates without
adversely affecting weight gain (Srinivasjois et al., 2009). FOS is being increasingly included in food
products and infant formulae due to their laxative effect. Their consumption increases faecal bolus and the
frequency of depositions, reducing instances of constipation, considered one of the growing problems
associated with inadequate fiber diet consumption in the modern society and neonates (Sabater-Molina et
al., 2009). There are sufficient experimental data to support the hypothesis that prebiotic mixture
substantially contributes to the improvement of infant formulae. The immune-modulatory effect of
specific prebiotic oligosaccharides viz. GOS, FOS and pectin-derived acidic oligosaccharides was
studied. The supplementation exerted immunemodulatory effect during the early phase of a murine
immune response(Vos et al., 2010).They also seem to promote a positive modulation of the immune
system (Delgado et al., 2011).
Lactulose feeding had an immunomodulatory effect on the composition of T-cell subsets in different
immune compartments and had minor effects on pro- and anti inflammatory cytokine mRNA expression.
A significantly greater number of blood lymphocytes were detected in the 3% lactulose group than in the
control group. The expression results in male calves indicated that the transcription of IgA Fc receptor in
the ileal mucosa of the 1% lactulose treatment group increased significantly and also tended to increase in
the 3% lactulose group. Furthermore, decreases in IL-10 and interferon-γ mRNA expression were
observed in the ileum. The CD4-presenting lymphocytes were decreased significantly in the ileum and
mesenteric lymph node, whereas CD8-presenting lymphocytes were increased in the blood of females
(Fleige et al., 2007).
Fermentable substances such as inulin or lactulose have been proposed to stimulate the immune system
and health by modulation of the intestinal flora and its fermentation products. In a study, effects of inulin
and lactulose on the intestinal health and hematology of calves have been investigated. Only inulin was
able to increase hemoglobin concentration and hematocrit mRNA expression of inflammation-related
markers in the intestine was also affected by both prebiotics hinting at a decreased inflammatory status.
This may be due to a possible decrease in intestinal pathogen load. mRNA expression of interleukin 8
were increased by lactulose in mesenteric lymph nodes. In the ileum, expression of a proliferation marker
was increased by inulin while an apoptosis-related gene was increased by both prebiotics (Masanetz et al.,
2011). Prebiotics supplementation may influence innate immune responses, such as phagocytosis and
oxidative burst, cytokine production, and antibody response may be influenced. Mice supplemented with
10% oligofructose or inulin had increased peritoneal macrophage phagocytosis and macrophage
superoxide production compared to control mice (Trushina et al., 2005).
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Table 1: Effect of Prebiotics on Calf
MOS @ 4 g/d of Bio-Mos
(Terre et al., 2007)
Cellulo oligosaccharides
@ 5 g/day pre weaning
and 10g/day post weaning
(Uneyo et al.,2015)
Veal calves
Calf milk replacer with
and without 3 or 6 g of
(Grand et al.,2013)
mannan oligosaccharide
(MOS) mixed in the
whole milk @ 4 g of Bio-
Mos per calf daily
(Hasunuma et al.,
MOS @ 4 g/d of Bio-Mos
(Terre et al., 2007)
MOS in milk replacer @
2-4 g/day/head
(Karol et al., 2011)
MOS milk replacer @ 4g
(Ghosh et al., 2011)
Prebio-Support@ 20g/day
(Heinrichs et al.,
Prebio Support containing
(Fujisawa et al.,
Macrophage phagocytosis was also increased when calves were supplemented with β 1,4mannobiose
compared to control calves (Ibuki et al., 2010). An in vitro study in humans found an increase in
neutrophil oxidative burst response and microbicidal activity with beta glucan supplementation (Wakshull
et al., 1999). Peritoneal neutrophil respiratory burst activity and neutrophil number were also increased in
mice supplemented with oat beta glucan (Murphy et al., 2007).
The fermentation products produced by prebiotics such as butyrate (Nilsson et al., 2010), may indirectly
effect anti-inflammatory cytokines. Butyrate is one of the most prevalent fermentation products in the
rumen and has been shown to increase the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines (Schley and Field,
2002). Secretion of anti-inflammatory IL-10 was increased in elderly humans supplemented with
galactooligosaccharides (Vulevic et al., 2008).Fructooligosaccharide-supplemented rats had increased
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TGF-β in cecal tissue compared with control rats as well as an increase in commensal microflora counts,
Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria (Hoentjen et al., 2005).
Antibody production of IgA which plays a role in mucosal immunity and IgG, important in memory
responses, may also be influenced by prebiotics. Ileal IgA concentrations from dogs supplemented with
both mannan oligosaccharides and fructooligosaccharides were increased compared with control animals
in a study done by Swanson et al., 2002. Secretion of IgA in peyer’s patch cells of fructooligosaccharide-
supplemented mice with was increased in a dose-dependent manner compared with controls (Hosono et
al., 2003). Hydrolyzed yeast-fed neonatal calves challenged with both Hog cholera, a viral pathogen, and
Erysipelothrixinsidiossa, a bacterium, had increased bacterial- and viral-specific IgA and IgG
concentrations compared with challenged calves without supplementation (Kim et al., 2011). Increases in
total IgG have also been observed. Beta glucan supplementation increased total IgG concentrations of
immunosuppressed mice (Yun et al., 1997). Serum IgG concentrations were improved by 32% and 23%
compared to controls in two trials involving mannan oligosaccharide-supplemented piglets (Lazarevic et
al., 2010). In a third trial by the same researcher, Holstein calves fed mannan oligosaccharides had an
increase in serum IgG concentrations of 39% (Lazarevic et al., 2010).
Dietary supplementation of prebiotics is a valuable approach in improving gut health attributes like
bifidogenecity, hindgut fermentation, gut mucosal integrity, mineral bioavailability, lipid and glucose
homeostasis and immune response. They have added benefits in terms of easy accessibility, easier
integration into feeding system and exploitation of non-viable dietary components. Moreover, they can be
fortified in wide range of feeds. However, to obtain optimal results, standardization concerning specific
choice of prebiotic, dietary inclusion level, adaptation period, chemical structure (degree of
polymerization, linear or branched, type of linkages between monometric sugars), origin of prebiotic,
route of administration, animal factor (species, age, stage of production and health status) and proper
managemental care is required. In this perspective it would be possible to compare data from different
experiments and to provide the basis for more refined clinical trials. Future research required focusing on
determining the mechanism of action, evaluating prebiotic interaction and elucidating how the genetic and
bacterial profiles of the host can influence treatment responsiveness. Moreover, as better information on
structure to function information accrues as well as individual metabolic profiles of target bacteria are
compiled, it may be easier to select prebiotics for specific purpose. With the new generation of molecular
microbiological tools now becoming available, it will be possible to gain definitive information on the
species rather than genera that are influenced by the test prebiotic. The more we identify and characterize
the bacterial genera, species and even strains that compose the intestinal microbiota, the more we can
International Journal of Livestock Research eISSN : 2277-1964 NAAS Score -5.36
Vol 7 (8) Aug’17 DOI 10.5455/ijlr.20170610051314
understand both qualitatively and quantitatively, changes in that composition, their physiological roles
and mechanisms of effects. Good management practices to optimize nutrition, immune status, and
decrease the risk of disease are vital. The use of prebiotics may be a viable option to increase the
proliferation of commensal bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, modulate feeding behavior, and increase
immune function to optimize calf health.
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... To obtain mannan oligosaccharides, yeast cells are lysed and the resulting culture is centrifuged to isolate components of the cell wall. The components of the cell wall are washed and dried by spraying [Singh et al. 2017]. ...
... Features of biological action of different classes of prebiotics in the digestive tract of ruminants One of the main functions of mannan oligosaccharides is their competitive binding to gram-negative bacteria. The latter easily bind to D-mannose receptors of oligosaccharides on the epithelium of the gastrointestinal tract, and later such a complex is separated from the mucous membrane and leaves the digestive tract, significantly reducing the presence of pathogenic microflora [Singh et al. 2017]. Mannan oligosaccharides have a pronounced phagocytic and immunomodulatory effect in animals [Franklin et al. 2005]. ...
... Beta-glucans are polymers of glucose in the cell wall of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and cereal grains such as barley and oats [Singh et al. 2017], consisting of β-1,3 and β-1,6 related D-glucopyranosyl units. They account 50 to 60% of the yeast cell wall mass. ...
Full-text available
The review article provides up-to-date scientific information on the characteristics, classification and mechanisms of biological action of pro-, pre- and synbiotics in the digestive tract of ruminants. The literature sources of recent years on the influence of pro-, pre- and synbiotic supplements (when adding them to the diets of ruminants) on the metabolic processes in the body, intensity of growth, development and the quality of products obtained from domestic ruminant animals are systematized and analyzed. Emphasis is placed on the fact that the degree of metabolic and productive action of these diet supplements in ruminants is determined primarily by the qualitative composition, technology of production, method of storage and quantity added to fodder. It is noted that the main mechanism of pro-, pre- and synbiotics action when entering the digestive tract of ruminant animals is optimizing the composition of its microflora, strengthening the barrier functions of the rumen, reticulum, omasum, abomasum and intestine, as well as activation of interferon synthesis by blood leukocytes, stimulation of digestive functions and strengthening immune status. Also it is stated that the use of these fodder additives in the diet optimizes the quantitative and qualitative composition of the symbiotic microbiota of the digestive tract, has an immunostimulatory effect, activates metabolic processes and improves the productive qualities of ruminants.
... inhibit the growth of pathogens by production of antimicrobial compounds (Tran et al. 2023). It is well known that inulin promotes the growth of lactic acid bacteria which has a favourable impact on the microflora and increases nutritional availability in dairy animals (Singh et al. 2017). Supplementation of fermented milk permeate (prebiotic and probiotics) had considerably higher levels of lactic and propionic acid and lower the population of Enterobacteria in the faeces of the calves (Vadopalas et al. 2021). ...
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Synbiotics have been used as biotherapeutic supplements for prevention of new-born calf gastrointestinal disorders. Present study was conducted to evaluate the impact of fructo-oligosaccharide, mannan-oligosaccharide and inulin along with Lactobacillus plantarum CRD-7 and Lactobacillus acidophilus NCDC15 on the nutrient digestibility, growth performance and faecal microbial population of pre-ruminant buffalo calves. Twenty-four Murrah calves (5 days old) were randomly assigned to four groups of six calves in each using randomized block design. Calves in Group I (control) received only a basic diet of milk, calf starter and berseem with no additives. Calves in Group II (SYN1) were fed 6 g fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS) + Lactobacillus plantarum CRD-7 (100 ml). Calves in Group III (SYN2) were fed 9 g inulin + L. plantarum CRD-7 (50 ml), while calves in Group IV (SYN3) received 4 g MOS + L. acidophilus NCDC15 (200 ml) as fermented milk having 108 CFU/ml/calf/day in addition to the basal diet. The results revealed that digestibility of dry matter, crude protein, ether extract and average daily gain were all higher (P < 0.05) in SYN1 as compared to control group. The antioxidant enzyme activity, humoral and cell mediated immunity performed well in SYN1, SYN2 and SYN3 as compared to control. Diarrhoea and faecal scouring were lower (P < 0.05) in all supplemented groups than control. Faecal Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium counts were also higher in SYN1 group followed by SYN2 and SYN3. Faecal ammonia, lactate, pH, and volatile fatty acids level were increased in SYN1 supplemented groups. The synbiotic combination of 6 g FOS + L. plantarum CRD-7 had better response on digestibility, average daily gain, antioxidant enzymes, immune response, faecal microbiota and metabolites and also reduce the faecal score and diarrhoea incidence. Therefore, supplementation of 6 g FOS + L. plantarum CRD-7 can be advised for general use in order to promote long-term animal production.
... In the current study, CFU count of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in all synbiotics groups were higher than control resulting higher lactate concentration in faeces. It is well known that the prebiotic inulin promotes the growth of lactic acid bacteria such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, which has a favourable impact on microflora and increases nutrient availability and absorption 54 . Feeding lactic acid bacteria and yeast, augmented the richness of useful bacteria such as Bifidobacterium in the intestinal tract of new-born calves revealed using metagenomic approach 55 . ...
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Synbiotics are employed as feed additives in animal production as an alternate to antibiotics for sustaining the gut microbiota and providing protection against infections. Dairy calves require a healthy diet and management to ensure a better future for the herd of dairy animals. Therefore, the present study was carried out to investigate the effect of synbiotics formulation on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, fecal bacterial count, metabolites, immunoglobulins, blood parameters, antioxidant enzymes and immune response of pre-ruminant Murrah buffalo calves. Twenty-four apparently healthy calves (5 days old) were allotted into four groups of six calves each. Group I (control) calves were fed a basal diet of milk, calf starter and berseem with no supplements. Group II (SYN1) calves were fed with 3 g fructooligosaccharide (FOS) + Lactobacillus plantarum CRD-7 (150 ml). Group III (SYN2) calves were fed with 6 g FOS + L. plantarum CRD-7 (100 ml), whereas calves in group IV (SYN3) received 9 g FOS + L. plantarum CRD-7 (50 ml). The results showed that SYN2 had the highest (P < 0.05) crude protein digestibility and average daily gain compared to the control. Fecal counts of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium were also increased (P < 0.05) in supplemented groups as compared to control. Fecal ammonia, diarrhea incidence and fecal scores were reduced in treated groups while lactate, volatile fatty acids and antioxidant enzymes were improved compared to the control. Synbiotic supplementation also improved both cell-mediated and humoral immune responses in buffalo calves. These findings indicated that synbiotics formulation of 6 g FOS + L. plantarum CRD-7 in dairy calves improved digestibility, antioxidant enzymes, and immune status, as well as modulated the fecal microbiota and decreased diarrhea incidence. Therefore, synbiotics formulation can be recommended for commercial use in order to achieve sustainable animal production.
... Combinational supplementation reported to benefit greater, as when sugar beet combined fed with FOS and garlic residues reported to increase lamb weight gain, encourage growth of beneficial Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) in GIT, such as Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus and Veillonella in the pre weaning period [78] . These may exert prebiotic effect in agreement of previous studies as reviewed by [83] that prebiotics may confer many other beneficial effects in neonatal life of calves. Supplementing urea to dried beet pulp tends to increase weight gains. ...
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With the advent of increased milk production and scarcity of energy rich feed and fodder mainly during lean period is one of the major constraints for sustainable dairy development in India. Beneficial and nutritional value of sugar beet in one side and the rising competitiveness of feed grains with human consumption, other side created a massive scope for sugar beet feeding worldwide. Sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) is a promising high yielding summer crop that can be grown well in the tropical and subtropical parts of India. It has several advantages over traditional fodder crops that it can tolerate the soil salinity up to 5 eCE, rich in stored carbohydrate in the form of sugar, all of its part contribute in animal feeding, can be conserved for longer period by making silage. Earlier, inspite of enriched quality, its higher sugar content than starch made it a burning topic of concern and least popular and acceptable among farmers due to the possibility of decrease in ruminal pH, hindrance in fiber digestibility and interference in microbial population but if little analytical value of sugar when rejected found to partially replace the feed grains and could support the production. Therefore, cultivation of sugarbeet with full package of practice and better utilization of its byproduct as cattle feed may help in overcoming the problem of shortage of feed and green fodder in summer season and could be a potential alternative energy source feed for cattle in India.
... In cattle, prebiotics have been demonstrated to reduce harmful bacteria adhesion and enhance immunological response. 79 In the research, prebiotics were introduced to the Holstein Friesian diet, which reduced the incidence of E. coli. 80 ...
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The microbiome is a population of microbes that colonized in mammalian gut. During the first few years of life, the gut microbiome undergoes alteration and is very diverse in adulthood, depends upon various of circumstances. Gut microbes, particularly gut flora in ruminants, are receiving more and more attention. Intestinal microbes, particularly ruminant microorganisms, have attracted an increasing amount of attention as high-throughput sequencing technology has improved and costs have decreased, whether in the fundamental research or application fields. The ruminant microbiome changes in conjunction with its host and it is influenced by inter-microbial interactions, environmental exposures, and host properties. However, any organism's core functional microbiome is much more conventional. Unfortunately, the fragile growth ratio of the microbial culture is susceptible to incursions under illness circumstances, which may affect the abundance of various microbial species, resulting to dysbiosis. As a result, the purpose of this review is to provide a broad summary of the relevance of ruminant gut microorganisms, as well as to investigate variables that influence the microbiota and alternative therapeutics such as probiotics, prebiotics, fecal transplantation, and rumen transfiguration, all of which have been shown to be effective in addressing dysbiosis.
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Inulin is a fructooligosaccharide with prebiotic and bifidogenic properties, contributing to the intestinal health of animals. This study aimed to evaluate the performance, carcass characteristics, meat quality, and blood parameters of Boer × Saanen goat kids supplemented with inulin. Thirty animals were distributed in a completely randomized design in a 3×2 factorial scheme with three levels of inulin (0, 3, and 6 g/kg DM) and sex (male and female). The diet was formulated and adjusted to gain 0.150 kg/day and the slaughter weight was 30 kg. Inulin supplementation had a linear, positive effect on carcass yield (P= 0.03). However, animal performance, carcass characteristics, tissue proportions, and muscle proximate composition were not influenced by inulin levels. Males had a lower slaughter age, higher muscle proportion, lower fat, and higher protein content than females. Red blood cell, hemoglobin, and hematocrit levels increased with inulin supplementation compare to the control treatment (P<0.01). Inulin supplementation at 3 g/kg DM can be used in the diet of goat kids yielding a better carcass yield and improving red blood cell indices in Boer × Saanen goat kids.
A study was designed to examine the purported immunomodulating properties of oligofructose and inulin. The immune status of mice fed a control diet was compared with mice fed three diets containing 2.5% oligofructose, 10% oligofructose, or 10% inulin. The speed and efficiency of cell-mediated responses were evaluated by measuring natural killer cell (NK) activity in spleenocytes and by quantifying phagocytosis by peritoneal lavage macrophages. Immune cell population composition was evaluated by cytology of blood and tissue suspensions, WBC counts, and FACS analysis. FACS was used to examine CD4/CD8 and T/B ratios of thymocytes and spleenocytes and to examine cell distribution in peritoneal lavage. Although WBC counts for all treatments were within normal ranges, mice fed the control diet had twice as many WBCs compared to the other groups (pi0.0005). NK activity was higher in mice that were fed 10% oligofructose (pi0.02) or inulin (pi0.0005), implying an increased percentage of NK cells in the population or an increased speed of response. CD4/CD8 and T/B ratios did not differ, ruling out a re-distribution of maturing cell populations as a mode of immunomodulation. The analyses of phagocytosis capabilities are continuing. Preliminary results suggest oligofructose and inulin up-regulate front-line cell-mediated responses. Challenge studies are being used to evaluate whether the above indices provide protection again tumor cell lines, carcinogens, or pathogens.
The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of β-1.3/1.6-D-glucan added to feed on meat performance traits and non-specific humoral immunity parameters in lambs. The experiment was performed on 26 suckling Kamieniecka lambs, divided into two equal groups, control (I) and experimental (II), each composed of 7 males and 6 females. Over a 60-day experimental period the concentrate for lambs of the experimental group was supplemented with β-1.3/1.6-D-glucan. The following meat performance traits were determined: body weight, daily gains, growth rate, measurements of a transverse slice of musculus longissimus, thickness of skin with the fat layer and thickness of fat over the loin eye. The serum levels of non-specific humoral immunity parameters, i.e. lysozyme activity, gamma globulins and total protein, were also determined. The results indicated that dietary supplementation with β-1.3/1.6-D-glucan positively affected both meat performance and non-specific humoral defense mechanisms in suckling lambs. This was confirmed by a faster growth rate, better development of the longissimus muscle, as well as higher lysozyme activity and elevated levels of gamma globulins.
The aim of the study was to estimate the influence of β-1,3/1,6-D- glucan applied in feed on non-specific cellular immunity in lambs. The study examined twenty six 21-28 day old lambs in two groups: I - control and II - experimental (7 rams and 6 ewes in each group). The animals were kept under identical zoohygienic and nutritional conditions. Lambs from group I were fed a basal control diet and lambs from group II were fed a diet containing β-1,3/1,6-D-glucan, at doses of 80 mg/kg/day. Blood was taken from the control and experimental groups before the lambs were fed a diet containing β-1,3/1,6-D-glucan, and 15, 30 and 60 days after administration of the diet. The respiratory burst activity (RBA) and potential killing activity (PKA) of blood phagocytes and proliferative response of blood lymphocytes (MTT) stimulated by mitogens concanavalin A (ConA) and lipopolisaccharide (LPS) were examined. The results indicated that when β-1,3/1,6-D-glucan was applied to food it statistically significantly increased the blood phagocyte and lymphocyte activity in the lambs until the end of experiment, compared to the control group.
This chapter focuses on modulation of the gastrointestinal microbiota by prebiotics and their abilities to impact on colonic diseases by restoring more beneficial bacterial populations and in the aging gut. The gastrointestinal tract contains diverse communities of bacteria, which are present not only in the gut lumen but also on mucosal surfaces. An imbalance in bacterial populations occurs in several gastrointestinal disorders and in the elderly. Evidence from studies undertaken to date has indicated that prebiotics and synbiotics can beneficially modulate the intestinal microbiota, and that they have promising therapeutic potential for treating inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer, and in maintaining a healthy microbial balance in the aging gut. However, there are still great deficiencies in the knowledge of the mechanisms of prebiotic action and their involvement in disease processes. This will be enhanced in the future by the use of new more sensitive molecular techniques for microbiological analysis, as well as in measurements of immunological and cellular markers.
Probiotics (Direct-Fed Microbial: DFM) have been established for use as a feed additive; researchers have observed many beneficial effects of such by improving the intestinal microbial balance in livestock. The functions of probiotics within a Gastrointestinal Tract (GIT) are suggested to include the following: competing with pathogenic bacteria for nutrients in the gut; competing with pathogens for binding sites on the intestinal epithelium; producing compounds that are toxic to pathogens and Stimulating the immune system. The applications of probiotics provide a potential alternative strategy to antibiotic use in livestock. It is suggested that probiotics should be used as a feed additive in livestock.
Responses to low dosages of lactulose (3 or 5 g/day), focusing on intestinal function and faecal character, were assessed by self-observation in 296 subjects. An increase in defaecation frequency, softening of faeces, a change in faecal colour towards yellow, reduced faecal hardness and slight increases of abdominal gaseous symptoms were observed as a result of lactulose intake in normal adults and in adults who had a defaecation frequency of less than 1.0 per day. In addition, responses to lactulose intake (4 g/day) in terms of faecal flora and profile were analysed in 8 healthy adults. The log10 number of bifidobacteria increased (to 10.3) and the ratio to total bacteria increased (to 50.5%), whereas the corresponding values for Bacteriodaceae and clostridia decreased. Faecal pH and indole concentration decreased. The following trends were also observed: high levels of faecal water and acetic and lactic acids; and low levels of iso-butyric and iso-valeric acids, p-cresol, skatole, urease, tryptophanase and others. It is suggested that a low daily intake of lactulose could improve the intestinal environment and ameliorate constipation.