Organic poultry farms can only use compounds on the National List of allowed substances for organic production. Yeast extract is on that list. So researchers at the Agricultural Research Service in Fayetteville, Arkansas are looking at a dietary yeast extract they believe could be an effective alternative to antibiotics for poultry producers. Initial studies suggest the extract has good potential as a non-antibiotic alternative for decreasing pathogens in organic turkey production.
Yeast extracts help boost the immune system’s ability to kill bacteria, but there is a downside. Microbiologist Gerry Huff says yeast ramps up certain aspects of the immune response, but body weight may be decreased in some birds. She says, – that’s because the energy normally used for growth is redirected toward the immune system.  Researchers are looking for a balance between enhancing immune response and maintaining growth.
Alternatives to antibiotics are also needed for conventional poultry production, since regulations for the usage of antibiotics are being tightened in response to the prevalence of antibiotic resistance in pathogens. Researchers are testing the extract for efficacy against salmonella and Campylobacter on 800 Japanese quail. The quail serve as a model system to evaluate natural treatments that will be beneficial for chicken and turkey production.

NAFB News Service