New research suggests that the reduction or removal of antibiotics will not reverse antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Latest research from Alltech’s European Bioscience Centre, shows that while antibiotic reduction or discontinuation can be “valuable in preventing future resistance”, it does not reverse resistance that has already occurred. 

A team led by Dr. Richard Murphy, Alltech’s research director, found that most resistant microorganisms “did not become sensitive to antibiotics again”, even after those antibiotics had been reduced or eliminated for some time.

This, the research team, said highlights that “the removal of antibiotics is not an automatic ‘reset button’ for resistant bacteria”.

According to Alltech, AMR is causing serious damage to the global agri-food sector; leading to economic losses and a decline in livestock production which in turn has resulted in “growing poverty, hunger and malnutrition”.

It has highlighted that while AMR happens naturally as micro-oganisms evolve, the speed and resistance of the resistance seen in recent decades has “made it clear that the process is being dangerously accelerated”.

Microscope in a research centre

Dr. Murphy believes that Alltech’s latest research shows that that “holistic control” of resistant pathogens is the key to combating AMR.

He said evidence suggests that the “world is coming around to a better understanding” of the limits of antibiotic reduction and elimination in addressing the AMR challenge.

According to Alltech one of the key challenges for the agri-food community is to find ways to support health without antibiotic intervention, and it is confident that the answer to this lies “by harnessing the power of yeast fermentation”.

It’s researchers have demonstrated the potential of using mannan-rich fraction (MRF), isolated from cell walls of Saccharomyces yeast, in controlling pathogens, including their resistant forms.

“MRF stands out for its ability to enhance gut health by increasing microbial diversity.

“This diversity is crucial because it helps the gut self-regulate, making it more resilient when pathogens are encountered.

“As a result, pathogens are less likely to colonize the gastrointestinal tract and cause harm,” the Alltech research suggests.

It has also stressed that MRF “is only one tool in the toolbox of a widely effective, resilient answer to the AMR issue”.

Others include crafted feed enzymes, functional nutrients, probiotics, organic minerals, and other yeast cell wall derivatives, such as mannan oligosaccharides (MOS).

Dr. Murphy said: “If you can expand the richness and the diversity of the gut microflora, that enables the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to self-police.

“You tend to get greater resistance to pathogen colonisation of the GI tract.” 

According to Alltech AMR requires a multifaceted approach and that once a thriving, healthy microbiome has been established, the animal has “a foundation for health” that includes optimised nutritional uptake and a stronger immune system.