Little pig, have you had your seaweed today?

[UK] Antibiotic resistance is no laughing matter. Last week the United Nations met in a special session to discuss what members called “the biggest threat to modern medicine.” All 193 UN member states are set to sign a declaration to work toward eliminating the overuse of antibiotics, including the use of antibiotics in livestock.

Now there may be one unlikely answer for pork producers wanting to reduce the need for antibiotics and improve the health of their animals – seaweed.

According to the UK-based new source, The Press and Journal, researchers at the University College Dublin found feeding seaweed to sows can have long-term beneficial impacts on piglet health. Essentially, by improving the sow’s gut structure, the health benefits can be passed to piglets.

These benefits include a drop in the presence of E. coli in the gut, which may be a key component to helping pork producers reduce the need for antibiotics.

John O Doherty, Professor of Monogastric Nutrition at University College Dublin, said seaweed contains many properties such as vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids that are beneficial to animal health, in addition to a type of glucose called laminarin found in brown seaweed that is most promising.

“It has a lot of plus points for sustainable pig production,” O Doherty said. “As well as helping animals fight off infection, it helps improve meat quality, which will hopefully mean fewer nitrates being pumped into meat and less spoilage,” he added.

Seaweed is also being researched as a possible source of a new generation of antibiotics for humans. Early results released in August were encouraging and showed that seaweed gathered from rock pools around Cornwall had antimicrobial properties. The seaweed was able to kill the superbug Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

The study is in its very early stages, and the research team has been attempting to secure funding to extend the research.


View original article at: Little pig, have you had your seaweed today?

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