Preventative approach to managing pathogenic bacteria

The traditional focus and practice to health is about killing of pathogenic bacteria, whether that means antiseptic handwashes, antibacterial sprays, drugs or antibiotics. This practice and model of pathogenic bacteria management kills all bacteria, and has led to drug and chemical resistant pathogenic bacteria, often called “superbugs”.

The Traditional Approach: Killing bacteria

Keeping humans and animals healthy has been historically about killing the pathogens that cause diseases. “Antibiotics” derive from the Greek term which means “opposing life”. They are a major class of natural antibacterials, the most common of which are the beta-lactams like penicillin, amoxicillin and so on, and are the most commonly used antibacterials in medicine.

Ever since Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928, this class of drugs have been used extensively, and many say “doused irresponsibly”, in humans and animals to keep them healthy.

Antibiotics rein in potentially deadly bacterial infections by killing the bad bacteria. But they also kill the good bacteria that help keep us healthy. The drugs and antibiotics introduced in current commercial farming remain in the food chain, and their irresponsible use is a proven cause of antimicrobial resistance and other disease issues in our children and our communities.

Illustration 1: Killing bacteria – the spread of antibiotic resistance in pathogens

The Preventative Approach: Strengthen good bacteria colonies, and prevent the formation of harmful colonies of pathogenic bacteria

Living things harbour a huge population of micro-organisms (microbes). In animals the vast majority of these are found in and throughout the gastrointestinal tract. [See “OUR FOOD -THE MICROBES IN OUR BODY KEEPS US HEALTHY”, Kloss article 02 August 2018].

The gastrointestinal tract contains an extremely densely populated ecosystem of these microbes, housing billions of bacteria which help us to digest food, detoxify food, supply us with vitamins, and modulate our immune system. The vast majority of these are good bacteria that are essential to our well-being. Living amongst the large spectrum of these microbes are pathogens – “bad bacteria”. They become harmful if they get into the wrong place, or multiply into large colonies.

The majority of microbes live symbiotically within us, the good microbes keeping the pathogenic microbes in check by preventing them from “blooming”. Under balanced conditions, “friendly” bacteria in the gut far outnumber the “unfriendly” ones.

This microbiome has been shown to be key to the health of all living things – humans, animals and plants alike. The understanding of the microbiome and its critical role in the health of living things has given us another way to look at keeping healthy – not the single-minded focus on killing pathogens, but that of suppressing the growth of pathogenic bacteria by overwhelming them with good microbes. This is a very important and critical mindset change.

Illustration 2: Manage the bacterial environment, and keep the good bacteria colonies healthy

Recent studies have shown that distinct environmental conditions in the gastrointestinal tract are favourable to the “good” microbes, and that these same conditions are less favourable to the pathogenic microbes. This gives us an approach that explores populating the gastrointestinal tract with an overwhelming proportion of good microbes and keeping these good microbe colonies healthy. At the same time an environment that suppresses the growth of pathogenic bacteria is naturally created.

This is the basis for the Preventative Approach to managing pathogenic bacteria.

The partners of KLOSS & Associates are committed to technologies and methods that take a preventative approach to agribusiness and Farming 4.0 – a model that does not focus on killing bacteria, but emphasizing the importance of suppressing the growth of pathogenic bacteria by overwhelming them with good microbes.