Chapter 19 : Current Status of the Preharvest Application of Pro- and Prebiotics to Farm Animals to Enhance the Microbial Safety of Animal Products

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Elie Metchnikoff, who is “regarded as the grandfather of modern probiotics” ( ) mentioned in his book , published in 1907, that a researcher at the Pasteur Institute, Dr. Belonowsky, had shown that administration of the “Bulgarian bacillus cures a special intestinal disease known as mouse typhus” ( ). Although likely impossible to prove, this passage in a book might have been one of the first to describe experimental probiotic action against an intestinal pathogen. Whatever one might think today about Metchnikoff’s ideas and his preoccupation with “putrefaction” in the digestive tract, he provided what could still be considered the basis of the modern definition of a probiotic when he wrote with reference to lactic bacilli, “The latter become acclimatized in the human digestive tube as they find there the sugary material required for their subsistence, and by producing disinfecting bodies benefit the organism which supports them” ( ). With the term “disinfecting bodies,” Metchnikoff was referring primarily to lactic acid, but he was also aware, based on Belonowsky’s research, that more than lactic acid was involved in the probiotic action of the “Bulgarian bacillus.” Nowadays, most authors have settled on a broad definition of probiotics as “live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit to the host” ( ); however, with respect to food safety, this definition might not be broad enough. Certainly, a food animal host that is healthier as a consequence of probiotic administration would be less likely to be a food safety concern, but would live microorganisms that reduce a human pathogen such as in the chicken’s intestinal tract without any noticeable health benefits to the host not also be a probiotic? Similarly, a product that would reduce the 0157:H7 carrier state in cattle would also fall into that category.

Citation: Joerger R, Ganguly A. 2018. Current Status of the Preharvest Application of Pro- and Prebiotics to Farm Animals to Enhance the Microbial Safety of Animal Products, p 349-360. In Thakur S, Kniel K (ed), Preharvest Food Safety. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.PFS-0012-2016
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Number of products entered in the Microbial Compendium ( ) that contain particular bacteria or groups of bacteria. Abbreviations: L., ; B., ; Ped., ; Bif., ; Prop., ; E., .

Citation: Joerger R, Ganguly A. 2018. Current Status of the Preharvest Application of Pro- and Prebiotics to Farm Animals to Enhance the Microbial Safety of Animal Products, p 349-360. In Thakur S, Kniel K (ed), Preharvest Food Safety. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.PFS-0012-2016
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List of microorganisms approved for use in DFBs in the United States and the European Union

Citation: Joerger R, Ganguly A. 2018. Current Status of the Preharvest Application of Pro- and Prebiotics to Farm Animals to Enhance the Microbial Safety of Animal Products, p 349-360. In Thakur S, Kniel K (ed), Preharvest Food Safety. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.PFS-0012-2016

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