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Review

Gut Microbiota Implications for Health and Welfare in Farm Animals: A Review

by 1, 1 and 2,*
1
Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Animal Molecular Design and Precise Breeding, School of Life Science and Engineering, Foshan University, Foshan 528225, China
2
Shenzhen Branch, Guangdong Laboratory for Lingnan Modern Agriculture, Genome Analysis Laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture, Agricultural Genomics Institute at Shenzhen, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Shenzhen 518124, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Janeen L. Salak-Johnson
Animals 2022, 12(1), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12010093
Received: 16 October 2021 / Revised: 24 December 2021 / Accepted: 28 December 2021 / Published: 31 December 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
Farm animal health and welfare have been paid increasing concern in the world, which is generally assessed by the measurements of physical health, immune response, behavior, and physiological indicators, such as stress-related hormone, cortisone, and norepinephrine. Gut microbiota as a “forgotten organ” has been reported for its great influence on the host phenotypes through the immune, neural, and endocrine pathways to affect the host health and behavior. In addition, fecal microbiota transplantation as a novel approach is applied to regulating the composition and function of the recipient farm animals. In this review, we summarized recent studies that gut microbiota influenced health, immunity, behavior, and stress response, as well as the progress of fecal microbiota transplantation in farm animals. The review will provide new insights into the measurement of farm animal health and welfare concerning gut microbiota, and the implication of fecal microbiota transplantation to improve productivity, health, and welfare. Above all, this review suggests that gut microbiota is a promising field to evaluate and improve animal welfare.
In the past few decades, farm animal health and welfare have been paid increasing concern worldwide. Farm animal health and welfare are generally assessed by the measurements of physical health, immune response, behavior, and physiological indicators. The gut microbiota has been reported to have a great influence on host phenotypes, possibly via the immune processes, neural functions, and endocrine pathways, thereby influencing host phenotypes. However, there are few reviews regarding farm animals’ health and welfare status concerning the gut microbiota. In this point of view, (1) we reviewed recent studies showing that gut microbiota (higher alpha diversity, beneficial composition, and positive functions) effectively influenced health characteristics, immunity, behaviors, and stress response in farm animals (such as pigs, chickens, and cows), which would provide a novel approach to measure and evaluate the health status and welfare of farm animals. In addition, fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) as one of the methods can modulate the recipient individual’s gut microbiota to realize the expected phenotype. Further, (2) we highlighted the application of FMT on the improvement of the production performance, the reduction in disease and abnormal behavior, as well as the attenuation of stress in farm animals. It is concluded that the gut microbiota can be scientifically used to assess and improve the welfare of farm animals. Moreover, FMT may be a helpful strategy to reduce abnormal behavior and improve stress adaption, as well as the treatment of disease for farm animals. This review suggests that gut microbiota is a promising field to evaluate and improve animal welfare. View Full-Text
Keywords: farm animal; fecal microbiota transplantation; gut microbiota; welfare farm animal; fecal microbiota transplantation; gut microbiota; welfare
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MDPI and ACS Style

Chen, S.; Luo, S.; Yan, C. Gut Microbiota Implications for Health and Welfare in Farm Animals: A Review. Animals 2022, 12, 93. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12010093

AMA Style

Chen S, Luo S, Yan C. Gut Microbiota Implications for Health and Welfare in Farm Animals: A Review. Animals. 2022; 12(1):93. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12010093

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chen, Siyu, Shuyan Luo, and Chao Yan. 2022. "Gut Microbiota Implications for Health and Welfare in Farm Animals: A Review" Animals 12, no. 1: 93. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12010093

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