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Animal. 2007 Nov;1(10):1443-66. doi: 10.1017/S1751731107000742.

Use of 'natural' products as alternatives to antibiotic feed additives in ruminant production.

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1INRA, UR1213 Herbivores, Site de Theix, F-63122 Saint-Genès-Champanelle, France.


The banning in 2006 of the use of antibiotics as animal growth promoters in the European Union has increased demand from producers for alternative feed additives that can be used to improve animal production. This review gives an overview of the most common non-antibiotic feed additives already being used or that could potentially be used in ruminant nutrition. Probiotics, dicarboxylic acids, enzymes and plant-derived products including saponins, tannins and essential oils are presented. The known modes of action and effects of these additives on feed digestion and more especially on rumen fermentations are described. Their utility and limitations in field conditions for modern ruminant production systems and their compliance with the current legislation are also discussed.


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