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View Diary: Meat industry now consumes four-fifth of all antibiotics (90 comments)

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  •  Oops, posted too soon . .. . (0+ / 0-)

    I have been puzzled why/how killing off gut biota assists in weight gain and faster growth - because at least in humans and cattle, their gut biota digests otherwise indigestible fiber into short chain fatty acids that can be used by the host for energy.

    In fact, one factoid sticks in my mind that mice kept under strictly sterile conditions had 30% less energy intake compared to those with normal gut biota fed the same nu;mber of nominal calories . . ..  guess, I should go look that up, too!

    •  Not clear, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      phonegery

      though it is possible that the animals eat more grain to compensate.  Or, maybe it becomes useless extra tissue in the stomach area.

      But, it is clear that the issue with anitbiotics and feedlots is about weight gain, thus increased price, and not about food quality or actual animal health.

      Industrial food production in America ruins our health, our environment and consumes more fossil fuel than any segment of our economy.

      by Mi Corazon on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 08:41:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  OK, I found a (plausible) explanation (4+ / 0-)
        Antibiotics did not reduce the overall number of microbes in the animals' guts, but it shifted their composition. DNA comparisons showed that mice treated with antibiotics had a higher proportion of bacteria belonging to the group Firmicutes than control animals. Firmicutes might be able to extract more calories from food and deliver them to the host, Blaser argues. The results are relevant to humans as well, he says. Another paper Blaser co-authored, published online in the International Journal of Obesity yesterday, reports a link between antibiotic use in infants and obesity in childhood.
        link

        I suppose something similar could occur in farm animals . . .

        •  yep the research that I've been reading in (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roadbed Guy, Prairie Gal, cynndara

          nature cosistently supports the idea that it's the mix of species which is really important.

          even the "trouble causing" bacteria are present, but don't cause trouble, if the mix is correct.

          that's why antibiotics are a necessary evil.  when you take antibiotics you will rearrange the concentration of species, and that's what will cause problems.

          big badda boom : GRB 090423

          by squarewheel on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:25:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I've found (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roadbed Guy

          that when I add a pound of fresh spinach over the course of a week to my diet, otherwise eating pretty much the exact same foods (I just dump that microwave gourmet on top of a bowl of shredded leaves), I LOSE WEIGHT at roughly a pound a week.

          Now, fresh spinach doesn't have many calories, so you wouldn't really expect to gain weight from eating it.  But you wouldn't expect to lose, either.  I suspect that both the roughage (decreasing transit times) and micronutrients/contaminants play a role.

          •  Egad - that's kinda a scary story (0+ / 0-)

            hasn't spinach been implicated in food poisoning, from having pathogenic microbes on it?

            Just saying, if I were to eat raw spinach, I'd take extra care to wash it really, really well!  But I believe that I am allergic to chlorophyll, so I don't eat it (or anything else green for that matter, except for soylent green on occasion which I've been assured is chlorophyll free).

            But scientifically your story makes sense  - if I understand this story correctly - certain people in Japan have the ability to digest some type of red algae that most people can't because their guts contains bacterial enzymes that allow them to do so.

            Presumably the bacteria were naturally present on the algae and got carried into the gut when the algae was eaten at some point in the past . . .. .  

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