Products of animal origin are a common source of salmonella infection, one of the most important food-borne pathogens. It is a genus of bacteria of the family Enterobacteriaceae, formed by gram-negative bacilli.
Its importance in swine is due, besides of clinical disease (salmonellosis) to the susceptibility of pigs to a wide variety of serotypes (often causing subclinical diseases), since it makes them an important source of infection in humans.
The introduction of this microorganism in the farms can be due to different reasons, among them the introduction of infected pigs, changes in the food or its ingredients and poor hygiene or pest control.
Nutritional strategies against salmonellosis
There are two nutritional approaches to promote a balanced gastrointestinal microflora: first, by providing beneficial microorganisms (probiotics); second by modifying the composition of the diet and especially by the use of additives.
These additives are called "microbiocides" because of their ability to specifically affect the pathogenic microflora, leaving intact beneficial microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract.
A molecule capable of performing such an action is the cimenol ring, a phenolic compound similar to anethole and eugenol, which exerts a bactericidal and fungicidal effect against pathogenic microorganisms when ingested by pigs. Its activity relapses in its capacity to break the membrane of the microorganisms once it has penetrated to the interior of the cell, reason why they die when not being able to maintain the osmosis.
Why does it not affect the beneficial bacteria of the gut of the swine? The answer is relatively simple: to exert its effect it is necessary for cimenol ring to get inside the cell. The pathogenic microorganisms are non-acidophilic, so in their membrane they express acid detectors, which are destroyed by contact with it, creating pores in its membrane. Thus, by combining the cimenol ring with a weak acid, such as citric acid a synergistic effect and specific microbiocidal activity against pathogens is achieved.
Therefore, the administration of an additive composed of cimenol ring (together with a weak acid) is a method to be taken into account for the control of salmonellosis in pig farms to achieve an improvement in the health of animals and a lower risk for humans.
Despite of this, do not forget the importance of conduct appropriate management practices and control the microbiological quality of the food.
The compound cimenol ring in synergy with citric acid is available in the nutritional supplement called ALQUERMOLD NATURAL (Biovet S.A.).