Antibiotic resistance has become a growing concern in animal agriculture due to the overuse of antibiotics as growth promoters and the resulting development of resistance among bacterial populations. In response, the European Union has implemented a ban on the use of zinc oxide in pig breeding, which was a common alternative to antibiotics for preventing diarrhea in piglets. This ban has created a need for new alternatives to antibiotics and zinc oxide in animal nutrition.
One such alternative is the use of feed additives as antibiotic replacements. These additives, which may include prebiotics, probiotics, organic acids, and essential oils, can promote gut health, improve feed efficiency, and enhance immune function in animals. They have been shown to be effective in reducing the incidence of certain diseases and improving animal performance without the use of antibiotics.
However, the use of feed additives as antibiotic replacements is not without its challenges. The effectiveness of these additives can vary depending on the animal species, age, and health status, as well as the formulation and dosage of the additive. Additionally, their use can be more expensive than traditional antibiotics or zinc oxide.
Our mission is to contribute to the solution of replacing antibiotics and zinc oxide in pig nutrition. We are oriented in several directions: research on zinc nanoparticles and the use of natural antibiotic substances such as plant antibiotics and monoglycerides.
Essential oils and monoglycerides are potential alternatives to antibiotics in animal nutrition. These natural compounds have shown promise in improving animal health and performance without the negative consequences associated with antibiotics, such as the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Our research group is studying these potential antibiotic substances in vitro and in vivo. We have achieved interesting results through their encapsulation in biopolymeric carriers. Another interesting group are the blynes from traditional Zambian medicine to which we have access thanks to our connections in Zambia.
Projects: 2019 – 2022: Reducing the use of zinc and antibiotics in pig farms with innovative phyto-additives and their combination with other natural antimicrobial agents. TAČR Zéta TH04030172 (Principal investigator Pavel Horky)
2019 – 2021: Nanotransmitters of monoglycerides for the support of intestinal microbiome diversity in poultry TAČR Zéta TJ02000325 (Principal investigator Sylvie Skalickova)
Research outcomes: Essential Oils as a Feed Additives: Pharmacokinetics and Potential Toxicity in Monogastric Animals, Animals, 2020
Utility model: Encapsulated monoglycerides in broiler chickens nutrition. Skalickova, S, Horky, P., in cooperation with Addicoo Group s.r.o., 2020