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Immune modulation offers further benefits for GIT health.


GIT has evolved mechanisms favouring colonisation by bene- ficial bacteria and combatting colonisation by pathogenic species. Supporting the function of the host’s gut immune system harnesses these existing immune mechanisms thus promoting a healthy microbiome, which in turn benefits the host. This is in contrast to strategies that directly target path- ogenic bacteria, including use of antibiotics and therapeutic levels of heavy metals, but which have unintended negative consequences on beneficial species of bacteria present in the gut, resulting in dysbacteriosis. Evidence of the benefits of immune modulation on the gut microbiome is provided by a study with mice supplemented with dietary copolymer. Treat- ment saw an increase in the relative abundance of commen- sal (“beneficial”) bacterial groups, including Bifidobacterium spp. (3-fold) and Lactobacilli spp. (1.5-fold), while pathogenic Clostridium spp. were reduced 2.5-fold.


Health and performance An essential outcome for any approach to improving GIT health is a healthier, more productive animal. Trials evaluating the performance of broilers and pigs supplemented with OxC-beta (as the source of copolymer) confirm that the observed improvements in GIT health translate into improved health and performance. In addition, trials evaluating the copolymer in other animals, including sows and dairy cattle, demonstrate that its immunological activities extend beyond the gut to benefit animal health and productivity by supporting mucosal immunity in other organs such as the mammary gland and lung. These trial results support an immunological approach for improving gut health and animal performance, as well as the utility of OxC-beta as a reliable source of immunologically active copolymer that is a next-generation additive for supporting GIT health.


▶ GUT HEALTH | DECEMBER 2020 109


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