A recent article in Poultry Science examines several possible alternatives to antibiotics in broiler production, including probiotics and prebiotics, bacteriophages, bacteriocins and phytotherapeutics.

Historic Perspective: Prebiotics, Probiotics, and other Alternatives to Antibiotics," written by Dr. Michael Hume, a researcher at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research service, also helps explain key differences among the alternatives currently being examined. “Calls for restricting the use of human health-related antibiotics in food animal production are now receiving more attention than ever from the scientific community, food animal producers, consumers and the human healthcare community," said Hume. "However, most of these alternative products are still in the experimental stage and are a long way from commercial availability. But the hard work it will take to get there is essential if we want to help protect the vulnerable inventory of human disease-fighting antimicrobials currently in use."


The paper was originally presented by Hume at a Poultry Science Association symposium on the potential impact of reduced antibiotic use and the roles of alternatives to antibiotics in antibiotic-free broiler production.