story to find out more.
In tests to
evaluate the effect of beneficial bacteria on the immune system, microbiologist
Gloria Solano-Aguilar administers a probiotic treatment to a young pig.
Click the image for more information about it.
Beneficial Bacteria Boost Intestinal Health
By Rosalie Marion
Bliss November 17, 2006
A probiotic supplement was found to stimulate the immune system and
improve nutrient absorption in two separate animal studies recently conducted
by Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
scientists. Probiotics are living microorganisms that, when added to foods or
dietary supplements in sufficient numbers, can benefit the consumer in one or
The studies were led by microbiologist
Solano-Aguilar with the ARS
Requirements and Functions Laboratory, one of seven research units at the
Nutrition Research Center. Solano-Aguilar received funding from
Nestlé Nutrition of
Healthy animals and humans benefit every day from trillions of natural
intestinal bacteria. These friendly bacteria help keep "bad" bacteria from
gaining a foothold that could lead to illness or disease. In the first study,
the common probiotic strain Bb 12 was fed to three pregnant sows, while a
placebo treatment was fed to three pregnant control sows. The scientists then
fed the same Bb 12 treatment to half of each sow's litters, resulting in four
Solano-Aguilar studied gene expression patterns in tissue taken from
each animal's lymph nodes, liver, spleen and intestine. She also studied the
animals' intestinal contents. The team then compared the gene expression
patterns in the pigs from all four groups. The probiotic was found to induce
innate immune activity in the colon where the probiotic was in highest
In a separate study, half of a group of test pigs were treated with
the Bb 12 probiotic before all of the test pigs were exposed to a worm
infection. The researchers then compared the response to infection of the group
of pigs that received the probiotic treatment with the response of those that
did not receive the treatment. Preliminary results show better response to the
infectionand improved nutrient absorptionin the group of pigs that
were supplemented with the probiotic treatment prior to the infection.
more about the studies in the November/December 2006 issue of
Agricultural Research magazine.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.