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BACKGROUND: The horse intestinal tract is sensitive and contains a highly complex microbial population. A shift in the microbial population can lead to various issues such as inflammation and colic. The use of nutraceuticals in the equine industry is on the rise and curcumin is thought to possess antimicrobial properties that may help to minimize the proliferation of opportunistic bacteria. METHODS: Four cecally-cannulated horses were utilized to determine the optimal dose of liposomal-curcumin (LIPC) on reducing Streptococcus bovis/equinus complex (SBEC), Escherichia coli K-12, Escherichia coli general, Clostridium difficile, and Clostridium perfringens in the equine hindgut without adversely affecting cecal characteristics. In the first study cecal fluid was collected from each horse and composited for an in vitro, 24 h batch culture to examine LIPC at four different dosages (15, 20, 25, and 30 g) in a completely randomized design. A subsequent in vivo 4 x 4 Latin square design study was conducted to evaluate no LIPC (control, CON) or LIPC dosed at 15, 25, and 35 g per day (dosages determined from in vitro results) for 9 days on the efficacy of LIPC on selected bacterial strains, pH, and volatile fatty acids. Each period was 14 days with 9 d for acclimation and 5 d withdrawal period. RESULTS: In the in vitro study dosage had no effect (P >/= 0.42) on Clostridium strains, but as the dose increased SBEC concentrations increased (P = 0.001). Concentrations of the E. coli strain varied with dose. In vivo, LIPC's antimicrobial properties, at 15 g, significantly decreased (P = 0.02) SBEC when compared to 25 and 35 g dosages. C. perfringens decreased linearly (P = 0.03) as LIPC dose increased. Butyrate decreased linearly (P = 0.01) as LIPC dose increased. CONCLUSION: Further studies should be conducted with a longer dosing period to examine the antimicrobial properties of curcumin without adversely affecting cecal characteristics.
Bland, S. D., Venable, E. B., McPherson, J. L., & Atkinson, R. L. (2017). Effects of liposomal-curcumin on five opportunistic bacterial strains found in the equine hindgut - preliminary study. Journal of Animal Science and Technology, 59(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40781-017-0138-4