ESR7: Multicomponent antibacterial plant cocktail for better health in piglets and broilers


Diarrhea and related mortality of farm animals induced by pathogenic bacteria (i.e. E coli, Clostridium, Campylobacter, Salmonella) is traditionally prevented by use of antibiotics and medical Zinc in weaning piglets and use of coccidiostats in poultry against zoonotic bacteria. Bacterial resistance build up against these compounds call for new and more natural sustainable solutions to maintain GIT health and prevent disease.


  1. Reduce the use of antibiotics and zinc oxide for piglets, and of ionophore coccidiostats with antimicrobial properties for broilers. This will be pursued by researching and innovation of a multicomponent antibacterial plant cocktail to avoid resistance build up. Plant species will be selected based on their in vitro antimicrobial activity against animal pathogens (E. coli and Clostridium perfringens) and zoonotic bacteria (Salmonella sp. and Campylobacter sp.).


  • The project will investigate in vivo the effect of plant based antibacterial feed additives on animal GIT health using selected promising plant species either in single formulation or as a multicomponent antibacterial plant cocktail to avoid resistance build up.
  • Antibacterial compounds in plant species and developed feed additives will be characterized biochemically and tested for their in vitro antimicrobial activity against animal pathogens (main focus E. coli and Clostridium perfringens).
  • Detailed effect of feed additives on animal performance in vivo, including general health, GIT health aspects and gut microbiota profile will be investigated.

Expected results

  1. A plant-based antibacterial multicomponent feed additive is developed and proven, that avoids proliferation of gut pathogens and supports a healthy microbiota in the GIT of piglets and broilers, thus reducing the need for antibiotics, heavy metals, and coccidiostats.

Planned secondments

  • At: TEAGASC (3 mo); Characterise differences in microbiota obtained from in vivo feeding trials with antibacterial plants;
  • At: Nor-Add,Nor-Feed A/S (0.5 mo); Gain knowledge on industrial aspects of the animal feed additive business;
  • At: DLG (0.5 mo); Receive training in commercial production and use of feed and feed additives in pig production, including sustainable pig production;
  • At: CFF (0.5 mo); Receive training in R&D management and consulting in sustainable pig production.

Enrolment in Doctoral degree:

ESR7 will be enrolled at the Department of Food Science, Graduate School of Science and Technology, Aarhus University.


Martin Jensen (AU), Nuria Canibe (AU), Peadar Lawlor (TEAGASC), Paul Cotter (TEAGASC)