• Antibacterial plants against diarrhea in pig herds

Gastro-intestinal infections in pigs reduce the welfare of the animals, increase the mortality and pose a serious problem both in organic and conventional pig production.

Large amounts of antibiotics, zinc and copper are used for the treatment and prevention of diarrhea and infections in conventional pig production, and to some extent also in organic production. Most of this is used for weaning piglets.

A high consumption of antibiotics can cause problems due to the development of multi resistant pathogens that are dangerous to humans. The increasing use of zinc and copper also poses a problem to the environment, because these metals are spread with the slurry and will be accumulated in the farm land.

Hence, there is a need for alternative solutions. The use of plants with antibacterial effects as supplementary feeding for piglets might reduce intestinal infections that lead to diarrhea.

Purpose of the project

The MAFFRA project will investigate the possibility of developing new multi-component, plant-based remedies against gastro-intestinal problems in pigs.

The purpose of the project is to examine whether plants with documented antibacterial effects can reduce the growth of pathogenic bacteria like E.Coli, Clostridium, Salmonella, Campylobacter and Listeria in a gastro-intestinal model. The focus of the project is to develop an antibacterial feed additive as replacement for antibiotics, zinc and copper. 

The selected mixtures will be tested in the laboratory in a pig stomach-gut model that mimics the environment in the gut in order to examine the ability of the mixtures to inhibit the pathogenic intestinal bacteria. The aim is not necessarily to kill the bacteria, but to achieve a healthy balance in the gut flora.

By mixing selected plant species with differing antibacterial mechanisms, the researchers expect to achieve an antibacterial cocktail effect that will make it more difficult for the bacteria to develop resistance.

MAFFRA runs in the period 2016-2018.

Project leader

Martin Jensen,
AU-Ã…rslev, Department of Food Science,
Aarhus University
Phone: +45 8715 8331

                                                  Antibacterial plants