IBD Microbiota and Prebiotics for Ducks

Baby Duck
This little duck could get healthier by eating alfalfa.
This week on BBS: IBD patients lose an important butyrate-producing bacteria, alfalfa works as a good prebiotic in ducks, and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG protects against fatty liver disease.

IBD Microbiota

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic inflammation of the colon, which has been associated with changes in the microbiota. A current investigation by Wei Wang of Wuhan University in China delved into the differences between the gut microbiota of healthy volunteers and IBD patients. The team found that IBD was characterized by an increase of lactic acid producing bacteria, like Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, along with a decrease of a bacterial species called Faecalibacterium prausnitzii. F. prausnitzii is known for producing butyrate, which has important immune regulatory functions. These results could lead to the development of new probiotic formulations for IBD patients. Learn more about IBD here.

Alfalfa Boosts Duck Health

Prebiotics added to animal diets have the potential of improving the intestinal microbiota and animal health. A current study performed by Dr. J.F. Jiang of the Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences in China focused on the potential of feeding alfalfa to ducks. Young ducks were fed diets with different amounts of alfalfa, and the intestinal microbiota, growth and immune strength measured. Ducks fed alfalfa had a significantly more diverse microbiota (a sign of health) and a stronger immune response. This would suggest that alfalfa would be positive addition to duck feed.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, the Liver Helper

Studies are showing that many probiotic species can help protect the liver against non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a disease often associated with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. A current study by Yvonne Ritze of the University of Hohenheim in Germany now shows that Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG also has potential for protecting the liver. Yvonne and her team fed the probiotic to some mice while inducing the fatty liver disease. She found that the supplemented mice were significantly protected from liver problems and that they also had significant improvements in a number of inflammatory markers.