Algae boost the immune system of animals, reduce use of antibiotics in livestock farming

AlgaeUse of algae can reduce antibiotics in livestock farming. (Tim Button/Flickr)As the marine algae business is growing fast and attracting increasing attention due to the nutritional quality of algae and the abundance of bioactive molecules, it offers a potential for applications, especially in the human food and animal feed sectors

The cell wall of macroalgae or seaweed, contains large quantities of sulfated polysaccharides. According to the various studies, the wide range of biological properties in macroalgae include anticoagulant, antimicrobial, antiproliferative, antitumoral and immunomodulatory.

INRA and Olmix Group, the global leader in macroalgal biorefinery (particularly green and red algae), have set up a research partnership to to explore the potential of isolated algal extracts rich in sulfated polysaccharides (OLMIX MSP® IMMUNITY).

The joint efforts have led to demonstrate that in an ‘in vitro’ study on differentiated intestinal porcine epithelial cells (IPEC- 1), MSP® IMMUNITY prepared from Ulva armoricana green macroalgae, harvested from the northern coast of Brittany, stimulated the production of immune mediators in the intestine as CCL20, IL-8 and TNFα.

The role of those immune mediators in the activation, recruitment and migration of immune cells, upon intestinal infections is demonstrated.

Understanding the mechanism of the immunomodulatory action mediated by MSP® IMMUNITY is necessary in order to optimise the use of bioactive polysaccharides in future prevention strategies boosting the animals’ immune response and health. The studies aim to explore the mechanisms involved in the modulation of immune response of epithelial cells by MSP® IMMUNITY.

These ‘in vitro’ results are very promising, since it shows that the MSP® IMMUNITY could be used in animal feed to modulate the immune response of livestock and protect their mucous membranes from pathogenic bacteria, increase animals’ resistance to infection and reduce the use of antibiotics on farms, an actual major public concern.

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