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Enhanced Meat Chicken Productivity with Probiotic Supplement


A recent study conducted by researchers from The University of Queensland led by Dr Yadav Bajagai and other institutions has shown that a novel probiotic strain, Bacillus amyloliquefaciens H57 (H57), can significantly improve the productivity of meat chickens. The study, which focused on finding alternatives to the sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics as growth promoters in animal diets, also investigated the impact of H57 on the chickens' microbiome and metabolic potential.

In the poultry industry, antibiotics have been commonly used to promote growth and control enteric pathogens. However, due to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens, many countries have banned or voluntarily phased out their use. Probiotics, such as H57, have emerged as promising alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters. They have been shown to effectively improve meat production and combat enteric pathogens in various animal species.

The researchers conducted an experiment with broiler chickens, comparing sorghum- and wheat-based diets supplemented with H57 to non-supplemented control diets. They measured the growth rate, feed intake, and feed conversion of the chickens and studied the microbial metabolic functions in the caecal region using shotgun metagenomic sequencing.

The results of the study revealed that H57 supplementation significantly increased the growth rate and daily feed intake of the meat chickens compared to the non-supplemented control group. Interestingly, there was no effect on the feed conversion ratio. Metagenomic analysis of the caecal microbiome showed that H57 supplementation positively influenced the functional capacity of the microbial community. Pathways related to amino acid and vitamin synthesis were enriched in the H57-supplemented chickens.

The findings of this study have important implications for the poultry industry. The use of probiotic supplements like H57, which can enhance weight gain and modulate intestinal microbial function, may serve as an effective alternative to antibiotic growth promoters. By improving the performance of meat chickens and modifying the functional potential of their microbiomes, these supplements can contribute to increased productivity and overall health of the animals.

The researchers highlight the significance of their study in exploring the potential benefits of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens H57 in the poultry industry. The findings suggest that probiotic supplements could be valuable tools for enhancing meat chicken productivity while reducing the reliance on antibiotics. Further research in this area may lead to the development of more sustainable and effective strategies for animal farming.

The article is published by Oxford University Publication in the Journal of Applied Microbiology and can be found here.


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