The research into probiotics conducted within the department has been shaped in particular by the DFG research group “Integrative Analysis of Mechanisms of Probiotic Actions in Pigs.” This research group, initiated by the Institute of Animal Nutrition (Chairman: Dr. Simon, University Professor), began its work at the end of 2001. It consists of an alliance of faculty members and researchers from within that institute as well as the Institutes of Veterinary Anatomy, of Veterinary Physiology, of Microbiology and Epizootics, of Immunology and Molecular Biology, and of Veterinary Biochemistry. Other groups that participated included a research group from the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) entitled S2 Infection Trials in Pigs and some colleagues from the Institute of Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics at the Department of Medicine – Charité – University Medicine Berlin.
The project’s aim was to use cutting-edge methods of analysis (flow cytometry, confocal laser microscopy, microarray screening system) to investigate, for the first time, the possible effects of different probiotics in pigs, at the cellular level. For further details, and the full report on the findings of this DFG research group, which concluded its work in 2009, please see the research group’s homepage at http://www.dfg-for438.de/.
At present, the department is working on continuing this research profile with respect to the effects of microbiotics in pigs. For example, there are plans for various research groups from Berlin and Potsdam to do research into new aspects of pigs’ reactions to different types of feed components, from a variety of standpoints, as part of a collaborative research center (CRC) that the department hopes to establish. The DFG is currently reviewing the plans for this CRC so that it can issue an official opinion.