INTERVIEW ▶▶▶ Marcelo Lang, global marketing director at Chr. Hansen

Gaining a better under- standing of probiotics

A recently released self-learning programme teaches professionals the different modes of action of probiotics. Marcelo Lang, global marketing director at Chr. Hansen, tells us more.


t’s a difficult task to choose the right probiotic, since probio- tics have various modes of action which support the health of animals. Acccording to Marcelo Lang, this was the reason for setting up a programme for professionals in the industry: “The

aim of this programme is to educate professionals in the animal protein industry on the modes of action of probiotic bacteria.”

All About Feed: Why is it important to understand the modes of action of probiotics? There is a connection between the typically measured variables of economic importance in production animal agriculture and the major modes of action of probiotic bacteria. At the same time, not all probiotics are the same. Strain matters! By gaining a better un- derstanding of what probiotics do and how they affect perfor- mance in farm animals, veterinarians, nutritionists and other pro- fessionals can make better decisions about which products will help the animals in their care.

Not all probiotics are the same. Strain matters!

Is there a lack of knowledge in the feed industry regarding the use of probiotics? There’s a lack of knowledge, but it’s an uneven picture. Some pro- fessionals are quite familiar with the effects of probiotics and use them very effectively, while others still haven’t caught up and are

24 ▶ ALL ABOUT FEED | Volume 29, No. 5/6, 2021

missing out. Thanks to new techniques, the science is advancing so quickly that even those professionals who are already familiar with and using probiotics will have a lot to gain from this programme.

What is your target group for the programme? We developed the Modes of Action programme with food animal veterinarians and nutritionists in mind. Other professionals in the industry will also benefit from the program, but they may find some aspects a bit challenging. For example, the lessons on the effects of probiotics on the microbiome or the modulation of the innate and adaptive immune system may require some extra attention.

Can you tell us a bit more about the content of the programme? There are four courses. The first one is a short introduction to the overall programme. The other three courses contain two or three lessons each, divided by specific types of interactions of probio- tics with feedstuffs, with other microbes, and with the host. At the end of each lesson, there’s a short quiz to help reinforce what has been learned.

What is the mode of action of probiotics? Probiotic bacteria affect animal health and performance through interactions with feedstuffs, with other microbes, and with the host animal. In interactions with feedstuffs, we learn how these bacterial actions improve the digestion and availability of essen- tial nutrients. In interactions with other microbes, we learn how probiotic bacteria successfully outcompete and eliminate poten- tially pathogenic organisms from their microenvironment and how those actions can lead to lasting positive changes in the in- testinal microbiome. Finally, in interactions with the host, we


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