Interpretive Summary: The effects of supplementing yeast fermentation products on gut permeability, hormone concentration, and growth in newborn dairy calves
By: Anne Wallace
Yeast fermentation products (YFP) are a potential alternative to antibiotics that may treat diarrhea – a major source of production losses – in heifer calves. Prebiotics, including YFP, are indigestible by the host animal and therefore act as a food source for beneficial gut microorganisms (bacteria or yeasts) which can digest them. In this April 2020 Translational Animal Science study, researchers hypothesized that feeding YFP to pre-weaned dairy calves would improve growth performance and gut health.
Dairy calves were supplemented with either no YFP, Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation products (SCFP) supplementation, or Aspergillus oryzae fermentation extracts (AOFE) supplementation. In order to determine any impacts on growth or gut health, blood levels of non-esterified fatty acids, glucose, interleukin 1 beta (a pro-inflammatory cytokine), insulin, glucagon-like peptide 2 (GLP-2), and markers of intestinal permeability were measured in the blood. The bacteria Salmonella and Escherichia coli (potential causes of diarrhea) were also measured in fecal samples.
In this study, there were no differences in the body weights of the control group and the two YFP groups. Average daily gain (ADG) was increased in the control group over the YFP groups. There was also no significant differences noted in GLP-2, the incidence of diarrhea, gut permeability markers, or the incidence of Salmonella and Escherichia coli in stool.
Overall, the results of this study did not find YFP to effectively improve gut permeability or growth in newborn dairy calves. Perhaps more in-depth studies looking at different concentrations or combinations of YFP, different microorganisms (including bacteria + yeast combinations), or different prebiotics may yield more useful findings.