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Extruded Rice Bran Promotes Gut Health When Antibiotics Are Removed From Animal Diets

In order to meet consumer demand for antibiotic-free (ABF) protein, there has been a growing demand for antibiotic alternatives or natural feed additives to promote growth. Extruded stabilized rice bran is a high-quality feed ingredient that promotes good gut health and acts to improve feed efficiency and reduce feed costs.

Extruded stabilized rice bran can be used to help improve animal performance in antibiotic-free nursery pig diets. As described here in a research study, nursery pigs fed ABF diets (dark grey bar) including stabilized rice bran had the greatest feed efficiency of all treatments. However, when antibiotics were fed in the diet alongside stabilized rice bran (orange bar), the pigs had a decreased feed efficiency.

When the researchers took a closer look at the mode of action, they found that stabilized rice bran acts to promote the growth of “good” bacteria. This data is shown below. In other words, stabilized rice bran acts as a prebiotic fiber. Prebiotics are non-digestible compounds found naturally in feedstuffs that act as a food source for beneficial bacteria in the lower digestive tract. Antibiotics are known to kill some “good” bacteria along with the bad bacteria, so it is not surprising these two compounds work against one another, hence the decreased feed efficiency in piglets fed a combined diet.

Over the past decade, a new field of research has emerged which studies how gut bacteria naturally present in the digestive tract of animals can influence the immune status. The digestive tract is a dynamic environment in which the bacteria present, called the microbiota, play an important role in development of immunity and nutrient conversion of food into fuel. As this field of research continues to grow, identification of new “good” and “bad” bacterial species may help develop a targeted nutritional approach to promote gut health.

As the demand for ABF animal products increases, producers are faced with the opportunity to explore feed ingredients that promote gut health and performance. Extruded stabilized rice bran can be used as an antibiotic replacement in the diet which will support animal growth and gut health. To find out more about this process, please contact us.