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5. Gut health in sustainable livestock production

Our research aim and focus

To search for strategies and feed compounds that promote a healthy gut microbial ecology, leading to robust and high-performing animals with minimal use of antibiotics and minimal environmental and climatic impact. 

Our primary focus areas

  • To study strategies that minimize the use of antibiotics in monogastric livestock production, while maintaining the animal’s welfare and performance, in order to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance development. This key focus area will be pursued by conducting studies on:

    • Gut microbiome composition and function and how it is affected by host-related (e.g., age, genetics, sex) and external (e.g., diet, environment, weaning, stress) factors.
    • The impact of feed additives and feed ingredients, like pre- and probiotics, compounds with antimicrobial activities, ingredients with functional constituents, alternative protein sources, and feeding strategies like fermentation, on gut microbiome, gut function, and the animal’s immune response.
  • To investigate the relationship between the gut microbial ecology and growth performance of the host.
  • To explore relationships between the gut microbiome (e.g. by manipulating its composition) and behavior (e.g., tail and ear biting, feeding behavior) and welfare of the host.
  • To study gut microbial ecology in ruminants and strategies to manipulate it in order to reduce health challenges, like post-weaning diarrhea in calves, and enteric methane production.

Theme group coordinator

Nuria Canibe

Senior Researcher Department of Animal Science - ANIS Gut and host health (GHH)

Our research perspectives

To contribute to a continuous development of sustainable livestock production systems, addressing aspects of animal health and performance, antibiotic resistance, as well as climate and environment.