Direct-fed Microbials for Ruminant Animals

Seo, Ja-Kyeom;Kim, Seon-Woo;Kim, Myung-Hoo;Upadhaya, Santi D.;Kam, Dong-Keun;Ha, Jong-K.

  • Published : 2010.12.01


Direct-fed microbials (DFM) are dietary supplements that inhibit gastrointestinal infection and provide optimally regulated microbial environments in the digestive tract. As the use of antibiotics in ruminant feeds has been banned, DFM have been emphasized as antimicrobial replacements. Microorganisms that are used in DFM for ruminants may be classified as lactic acid producing bacteria (LAB), lactic acid utilizing bacteria (LUB), or other microorganisms including species of Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Enterococcus, Streptococcus, Bacillus and Propionibacterium, strains of Megasphaera elsdenii and Prevotella bryantii and yeast products containing Saccharomyces and Aspergillus. LAB may have beneficial effects in the intestinal tract and rumen. Both LAB and LUB potentially moderate rumen conditions and improve feed efficiency. Yeast DFM may reduce harmful oxygen, prevent excess lactate production, increase feed digestibility, and improve fermentation in the rumen. DFM may also compete with and inhibit the growth of pathogens, stimulate immune function, and modulate microbial balance in the gastrointestinal tract. LAB may regulate the incidence of diarrhea, and improve weight gain and feed efficiency. LUB improved weight gain in calves. DFM has been reported to improve dry matter intake, milk yield, fat corrected milk yield and milk fat content in mature animals. However, contradictory reports about the effects of DFM, dosages, feeding times and frequencies, strains of DFM, and effects on different animal conditions are available. Cultivation and preparation of ready-to-use strict anaerobes as DFM may be cost-prohibitive, and dosing methods, such as drenching, that are required for anaerobic DFM are unlikely to be acceptable as general on-farm practice. Aero-tolerant rumen microorganisms are limited to only few species, although the potential isolation and utilization of aero-tolerant ruminal strains as DFM has been reported. Spore forming bacteria are characterized by convenience of preparation and effectiveness of DFM delivery to target organs and therefore have been proposed as DFM strains. Recent studies have supported the positive effects of DFM on ruminant performance.


DFM;Probiotics;Mode of Action;Ruminants


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