What alternatives can we use instead of antibiotics?

Eliminating growth-promoting antibiotics from diets could lead to the incidence of disease and reduce production performance; therefore, alternatives to the use of antibiotics are presented to improve the capacity of pigs.

The abuse and misuse of antibiotics in animals is contributing to the increased threat posed by antimicrobial resistance.

Some alternatives to the use of antibiotics in diets for pigs are


Acidifiers create a favorable intestinal environment for beneficial microorganisms which can help with increased nutrient digestibility, increased growth performance and reduced cases of diarrhea.

They can be organic or inorganic acids or salts. Although the exact mode of action is not known, the following mechanisms have been proposed:

  • A decreased or stabilized gastric pH may lead to increased pepsin activity
  • A modulation and alteration of the intestinal microbiota may inhibit pathogenic bacterial activity
  • Possible improving of the digestibility of nutrients in the small and large intestine which increases nutrient retention



They are inorganic elements that pigs need for maintenance, growth and reproduction. Some of the microminerals are copper and zinc which have antimicrobial properties and therefore are added to diets in quantities greater than necessary to meet nutritional requirements.



Prebiotics are mainly non-digestible oligosaccharides and have been defined as nondigestible food ingredients that beneficially affect the host by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon and thereby improving the health of the host.



They are living microorganisms which, when administered in adequate quantities, confer a health benefit on the host.



Yeast can be supplemented in pig diets in several ways: whole live yeast cells, heat-treated yeast cells, ground yeast cells, purified yeast cell cultures and yeast extracts. The effects of supplements vary according to the form of supplementation and, therefore, the intended uses of each type of supplementation also vary.



Nucleotides are molecules containing a nitrogenous base, which is a purine or pyrimidine, attached to a pentose sugar and at least one phosphate group. Dietary supplementation of nucleotides has been associated with humoral and cellular immunity, but the exact mechanism has not been elucidated.


Plant extracts

Plant extracts are of potential interest because of their biological functions, such as antiviral, antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. This may lead to the ability to use plant extracts to replace antibiotics in feed to improve animal performance and health.


For more information, read the full article:

Liu Y. et al. Non antibiotic feed additives in diets for pigs: A review. 2018. Vol.4, Issue 2, Pages 113-125.


See other magazines


Register to our International Newsletter

Get full access to our digital magazines and newsletters filled with contentes by experts


Agrinews communication group

Privacy Policy
Cookies Policy