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Prebiotics (oligosaccharids) in pet food
So-called prebiotics are very popular in human nutrition and may be considered as functional food ingredients. They are attracting considerable interest from pet owners, pet food manufacturers, livestock producers and feed manufacturers. What effects do they have in animals?

The most common forms of prebiotics are nondigestible oligosaccharides (NDO), including inulin, oligofructose mannanoligosaccharides, gluco-oligosaccharides, and galacto-oligosaccharides.
These NDO are nondigestible by enzymes present in the mammalian small intestine, but are fermented by bacteria present in the hindgut of nonruminants.
Inulin and oligofructose are present in measurable quantities in feed ingredients like wheat, wheat by-products, barley, and peanut hulls. Consumption of prebiotic oligosaccharides elicits several purported health benefits.

In companion animals, prebiotics have been shown to improve gut microbial ecology and enhance stool quality. In production livestock and poultry, prebiotics are employed to control pathogenic bacteria, reduce faecal odour, and enhance growth performance.
Research to date indicates positive effects of prebiotics on health status and performance of companion animals, livestock, and poultry.

Source: EA Flickinger, GC Fahey (2002): Pet food and feed applications of inulin, oligofructose and other oligosaccharides. In: British Journal of Nutrition, 2002, Vol 87, Suppl. 2, pp 297-300


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