Journal: Cell Host & Microbe
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Microbial medicine prevents diarrhoea in young swine
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A microbial therapy can help prevent diarrhoea associated with early weaning stress in young piglets.
A Chinese team led by scientists at Huazhong Agricultural University took stool from pigs that are naturally resistant to stress-induced diarrhea and transplanted the faecal matter into piglets that are susceptible to this weaning-associated gut complication.
After showing that the stool swap could help prevent gastrointestinal problems, the researchers analysed the gut microbes that took root in the recipient piglets. They identified two species of Lactobacillus that explained the therapeutic benefit of the treatment.
The two types of bacteria each produced a protein called gassericin A. This protein bound to cells along the intestinal wall to promote fluid absorption and reduce secretion, thereby protecting the pigs from diarrhoea.
The findings highlight the potential of using Lactobacillus bacteria — or any microbe genetically engineered to produce gassericin A — as an alternative to antibiotics in livestock farming.
- Cell Host & Microbe 24, 817–832.e8 (2018). doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2018.11.006