Probiotics – What is it, and what benefits?

Probiotics – What is it, and what benefits?

We have already superficially addressed the problems related to the use of antibiotics as growth promoters. Consequently, we talked a little about possible alternatives such as blends of organic acids with tannins and essential oils, prebiotics, probiotics, organic acids, and other phytogenic compounds.

Probiotics are live microorganisms, administered in adequate amounts and that bring benefits to the host via the balance of the intestinal microbiota, by controlling pathogenic microorganisms. Simplistically, to be considered probiotic, microorganisms must be a normal part of the microbiota, survive and rapidly colonize the intestine, survive digestive enzymes, be antagonistic to pathogens, non-toxic and be stable and viable for transport and commercialization.

Among the most commonly used bacteria for the preparation of probiotics are: Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus lactis, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus johnsonii, Streptococcus thermophilus, Enterococcus fabacterium, Enterococcus fabacterium, Bacillus subtilis, and Bacillus toyoi.

Some modes of action of probiotics:

Competitive exclusion:

Beneficial microorganisms, due to the greater amount per area, adhere to a greater number of binding sites in the intestine, preventing the binding of pathogenic bacteria. Due to their higher concentration, they also have advantages in the competition for nutrients important for survival and reproduction, thus inhibiting the high proliferation of pathogens.

Direct antagonism:

Salmonella and Ecolli can be inhibited by lactic bacteria through the production of organic acids and acidification of the medium.

Stimulation of the immune system:

Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are related to macrophage activation, T cell proliferation, and interferon. In addition to the formation of mucin, a lubricated glycoprotein layer protects the intestinal epithelium.

Technical Results:

Martins (2018) concluded that the probiotic stands out as an important alternative to the use of antibiotics to control Salmonella Heidelberg in chickens and beef, as there was a reduction in contamination in the cecal content and the cloacal swab, with the administration via Spray (drop sprayers) proved to be more effective. He also concluded that the probiotic improves the integrity of the enteric mucosa of broilers at different ages.

Huaynate et al. (2005), in an experiment with pigs, concluded that the inclusion of probiotics in pig diets reduced the incidence of diarrhea in piglets, and improved feed intake and digestibility.

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HUAYNATE, R.A.R. et al. Uso de probiótico em dietas de suínos: incidência de diarréia, desempenho zootécnico e digestibilidade de rações. Braz. J. vet. Res. anim. Sci., São Paulo, v. 43, n. 5, p. 664-673, 2006. Disponível em:

MARTINS, B.B. Probiótico administrado em embriões e pintos de frangos de corte na redução da colonização por Salmonella heidelberg e integridade entérica. Tese de doutorado. UNESP, Botucatu – SP, 2018. Disponível em: <>.


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