1MSE Dry Microbial Concentrate (Natur’s Way, Inc.) v. Bovamine (Chr. Hansen Laboratories, Denmark): A comparison


Lark L. Burnham, Ph.D.

Ruminant nutrition




Guaranteed analysis

-Based on Beef Production



MSE, CFU/hd/d1

Bovamine, CFU/hd/d2

Lactobacillus acidophilus

0.773 Billion

Not specified

Lactobacillus casei

0.773 Billion


Streptococcus faecium

0.773 Billion


Saccharomyces cerevisiae

3.98 Billion


Propioniibacterium sp.


Not specified


6.295 billion

2 Billion




1Based on an average dry matter intake (DMI) of 30lb/d.

2Added at a constant rate throughout the finishing period, regardless of DMI. Based on price for Bovamine Defend Probiotics for Beef Production, 1000 g, advertised at stockman.com.




Probiotics/DFM effectiveness is dependent on several factors:


·        Numbers of LIVE microorganisms or colony forming units (CFU) - One cell can grow into one colony, but only if it is live. Generally speaking, the higher, the better, with a recommended minimum of 100,000,000 or 1 x 108 CFU.


Both MSE and Bovamine report a guaranteed analysis of over 100 million.


·        Choice of species/varieties – Several probiotic/DFM species/varieties have been identified as good competitors. This is important because beneficial gut microflora are killed when an animal is stressed. The depleted species will recover, but only if pathogenic species are held in check until they regain control. Although many probiotic/DFM species are present in the digestive tract, their numbers are often too low to successfully compete with opportunistic pathogens, especially during periods of stress. Feeding high levels of probiotic/DFM during periods of stress will allow normal beneficial microbes to recover. Many probiotic/DFM “heavy hitters” (strong competitors) belong to the Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) and include Lactobacillus sp. and E. faecium.


MSE includes four species that have been shown to be good competitors (Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. casei, Enterococcus faecium, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae), Bovamine only contains one (L. acidophilus). Propionibacteria sp. are used to inoculate silage, no direct probiotic benefit has been attributed to these microorganisms.


·        The “Broad spectrum” approach – No one microorganism can thrive in all segments of the digestive tract, whether probiotic/DFM or pathogenic. Acidity, turbulence, and nutrient availability are just a few of the factors that affect preferred location. A combination of species/varieties of beneficial microbes is recommended for greater protection during stress. This approach can only be effective if the CFU of the “heavy hitters” mentions above are not diluted by less competitive microbes. Guaranteed analysis for individual good competitors, especially if the CFU is at or above 108, is more impressive than a long list of microorganisms with questionable impact.


MSE (4) v. Bovamine (1). Both products have been shown to reduce the shedding of E. coli O157:H7. Both products have been used in several university trials where performance was evaluated, only MSE has been shown to significantly improve growth performance and carcass characteristics. Both products were used in experiments that compared them to conventionally-fed cattle (monensin + tylosin), only cattle fed MSE showed equal or greater performance.


·        Form of inclusion – Probiotics/DFM can be included either as pure cultures, or as “fermentation products. Fermentation products are the dried remains of whatever was in the fermentation tank, this can include both live and dead cells (and parts of cells), growth media, and by-products of the growth process. Pure cultures are more expensive, but the CFU are easier to guarantee. The vast majority of probiotics/DFM available to the beef industry contain fermentation products.


Bovamine uses fermentation products for both species, MSE uses pure cultures for the four guaranteed microbes.


Natur’s Way has been perfecting and producing MSE for 50 years. Microorganisms may be mighty warriors in animals, but vulnerable beyond the body. They are easily killed by heat above 80 F, sunlight (radiation), and desiccation.  Natur’s Way's MSE  is based on science, with two ruminant nutritionists on staff, including the author.


Natur’s Way has funded research at several universities. Experiments conducted involved comparisons of MSE and Rumensin + tylosin in diets with various feedstuffs and forage levels, MSE v. antibiotics, and the effect of MSE on the shedding of E. coli O157:H7. Summaries of all these experiments are posted on our website (naturs-way.com) and are also available by mail. MSE significantly improves rate of gain and feed efficiency, and has been shown to be as or more effective than Rumensin + tylosin.


The only benefit from the addition of Bovamine Defend to feedlot diets is the reduction in the shedding of E. coli O157:H7. Producers of natural cattle sold for a premium are required to feed one of the approved probiotics/DFM, including both Bovamine and MSE. Choice of probiotic is ultimately dependent on the desired end-result, whether it is just reduced E. coli shedding (Bovamine), or reduced shedding and improved growth performance (MSE).


For questions and comments, please contact Lark Burnham at 785-486-9557, or lark@naturs-way.com.