Physiological Achilles' heels of Enteropathogenic bacteria in livestock

P.M. Becker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    An elaborate feeding regimen of animals, which takes advantage of the Achilles' heels of enteropathogenic bacteria, can possibly enable prophylaxis in the intestinal tract, attenuate actual disease symptoms, accelerate recovery from a bacterial gastroenteritis or ensure food safety. There is a wide spectrum of conceivable weak spots in bacteria. Some pathogenic bacteria cannot use certain compounds, or use them less efficient than beneficial bacteria. By addition of such substances to animal feed, non-pathogenic bacteria can grow better than pathogens and competitively exclude the latter ones. Other compounds even have an inhibitory effect on pathogens. Calcium phosphate for example protects against Salmonella, Zn2+ has a prophylactic effect against Brachyspira, and Fe2+ has an inhibiting effect on the enterotoxin synthesis of Yersinia enterocolitica. Besides, there are antimicrobial substances as plant extracts, essential oils, organic acids and other compounds, which inhibit pathogens more than other bacteria. A simultaneous application of several anti-pathogen agents suggest an enhanced effect. Some countermeasures aim at a distinct group of bacteria, while others are more universal. General strategies to repel different pathogenic bacteria are the supply of health-stimulating milk components, antagonistic bacteria for competitive exclusion, and mucus-related attractants for misguidance of adhering and invasive bacteria. This paper gives an overview of Achilles' heels of enteropathogenic bacteria that can be exploited to develop strategies for keeping control over these pathogens in the gastrointestinal tract of livestock.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)31-54
    JournalCurrent Issues in Intestinal Microbiology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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