Bacterial Control: Past, Present and Future

UK - Optivite has been involved in employing natural solutions to animal production problems for almost 30 years and over this time, applications have changed and progressed from simple in-feed bacterial control to alternatives to antibiotics.
calendar icon 9 January 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

Increased public interest and awareness in the way their food is produced and concerns over antibiotic resistance has led to increased pressure in the way in which animals are reared. Legislation has forced us into looking at ways of removing antibiotic growth promoters but still maintaining productive performance.

Optivite has been an industry leader in this area and has helped many companies around the world to achieve this aim.


Following the disastrous comments made by government minister Edwina Currie in 1988 about salmonella contamination of the UK layer industry, the original Salgard product was launched. By using organic acids buffered with ammonia on a specifically designed carrier a safe, convenient and highly effective solution to help combat the nation's Salmonella problem was found. Ongoing development work found that Salgard was also effective against other Gram negative bacteria commonly found in agriculture. Controlling their numbers can increase health, hygiene and performance significantly.

Furthermore, True Metabolisable Energy (TME) studies at Roslin Institute showed a very significant increase in feed energy was possible when including Salgard. From this, it was possible to ascribe a unique ME value to Salgard and formulate it into feeds. The resulting cost saving is highly significant in today's climate of high feed prices.

The EU antibiotic growth promoter ban of the 1990's brought pressure to find viable alternatives. Optivite had already commissioned a comprehensive research program to do this. In-vitro studies found the most effective natural anti-microbial substances and synergistic effects of carboxylic acids and natural phenolic compounds were exploited. Extensive in-vivo trial work confirmed the final formulations and Genex Poultry was launched, products for other monogastric species quickly followed. Optivite is a pioneering force in the use of this combination technology. Genex Poultry has been shown to be a viable alternative to AGP regimes and clearly well ahead of its time.


Optivite's work in the subject continues the aim of developing new and innovative ways of improving the health, hygiene and performance for our poultry producer customers across the world. Development and utilisation of novel carriers has continued to increase the efficiency of the products within the range.


It is clear that the future of routine bacterial control lies with natural products and not antibiotics in order to overcome the serious issues of resistance. This will allow antibiotics to be used for effective treatment of disease as they were always intended. Optivite has a comprehensive R&D policy committed to developing new exciting products to enable safe and profitable livestock to flourish in the challenging years ahead.

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