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Abstract

The gastrointestinal tract (GIT) microbiomes of production animals are now firmly established as a key feature underscoring animal health, development, and productivity. In particular, early gut colonization is critically important to the morphological and immunological development of the GIT, development of a functional fermentative environment, and neonatal resistance to pathogenic challenge. Although perturbations of an animal’s GIT microbiome at any age can have profound consequences, perturbations during early GIT development can be particularly severe and result in significant and long-lasting sequelae. As the GIT microbiome matures, it exhibits significant diversity, ostensibly an important indicator of ecosystem health. Recognition of the immense importance of the GIT microbiota to the host has led to the development of probiotic and prebiotic feedstuffs with the express aim of ensuring animal health. We herein review the current collective understanding of the GIT microbiota of production animals.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-animal-022513-114149
2014-02-15
2024-06-13
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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