David Hernández-Sánchez, Saraí Rico-López, Paulino Sánchez-Santillán, Marco Antonio Ayala-Monter, María Magdalena Crosby-Galván, Serafín Jacobo López-Garrido


Background. Prebiotics stimulate the growth and activity of the beneficial microbiota of the digestive tract, improve the health of the host and act as growth promoters. Inulin has prebiotic potential in ruminants, acts as an immunomodulator, improves intestinal health and productive behavior. However, its prebiotic effect on the ruminal microbiota is still unclear, given the little research carried out to date. Objective. This review focuses on the prebiotic effect of inulin and the benefits on the health and productive behavior of ruminants. Methodology. The bibliographic search was carried out in publications of international and national indexed journals, which have a strict peer review, written in English and Spanish, which included information related to inulin, its prebiotic effect, as well as the response of its use in health and ruminant performance. The scientific results of the reviewed articles were compared and contrasted. Main findings. The research analyzed demonstrate the potential use of inulin as a prebiotic in ruminants during lactation and weaning; benefits are shown on intestinal health and reduction in the incidence of diarrhea. In addition, improvements in animal behavior are observed. Inulin improves milk production in cattle. However, the little information available to date does not allow to determine the effect of this prebiotic on the ruminal microbiota. Implications. The information presented in this article shows that the effect of inulin as a prebiotic depends on its degree of polymerization, the age or growth stage of the ruminant, the doses used and, where appropriate, the probiotic population involved. Conclusions. The use of inulin as a prebiotic enhances the probiotic activity of beneficial bacteria, improving intestinal health and ruminant’s performance. However, more research is required on the effect of inulin in the rumen to know its prebiotic potential on the ruminal microbial.


Fructans; food additives; microbiota; gut health; rumen.

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