The intestinal microbiota refers to the microorganisms (including 70-80% of bacteria) living in the gastrointestinal tract. It is now considered as an organ itself and recent studies have shown that a balanced microbiota is essential to the proper functioning of mammals’ organism, especially in terms of growth, digestion and immunity.
The Microbiota is an ecosystem sensitive to several factors like stress, nutrition or medication. These factors modulate the microbiota balance that may evolve and see the development of a pathogenic flora. We then talk about dysbiosis. Among farm animals, dysbiosis provokes a decreasing productivity, clinical manifestations and in exceptional cases, the death of the animal. Numerous approaches aiming at positively modulating the microbiota have been already studied, in particular since the ban of antibiotics used as growth promoters in the European Union. We are talking here about probiotics, prebiotics or organic acids. Several studies pointed out their positive effect as nutritional supplement on the microbiota balance (Pan, Kumaree, and Shah 2017), (Nagpal and Kaur 2011; Mookiah et al. 2014).
Nor-Spice AB® developed by Nor-Feed is one of these solutions. It is a premix of additives consisting of a citrus extract providing citroflavonoids and pectic oligosaccharides (POS). Many studies showed that the diet supplementation in citroflavonoids has a double action: help the growth of several microorganisms such as Lactobacillus, Bifidocterium or Enteroccus, while inhibiting the pathogenic flora overgrowth. Some citroflavonoids help the production of short chain fatty acids in the colon thus decreasing the pH and allowing the inhibition of the pathogenic flora. Moreover they can modulate the abundance of certain bacteria of the Clostridium spp type (Unno, Hisada, and Takahashi 2015). A beneficial effect is generally observed at the intestine integrity level (Suzuki and Hara 2011; Gil-Cardoso et al. 2016): increased villous size, strengthening of the intestinal barrier, etc. As for POS, they are well known for their stimulating effect on the lactobacilli and bifidobacteria growth. In addition to their prebiotic effect, the POS inhibit the adherence and invasion of pathogenic bacteria in the gut.
Since the development of Nor-Spice AB®, Nor-Feed has continued its work to generate data on the modes of action and efficacy of this product in production farms. Field trials performed in monogastrics have shown that Nor-Spice AB® supplementation at low doses (a few ppm) results in a significant increase in zootechnical performance.