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Feeding microbials to chickens leads to mysterious immune response
Date:9/12/2012

A paper recently published in the Journal of Animal Science helps researchers further understand how microbials and probiotics affect poultry health.

Researchers at the North Carolina State University and Chung Jen College of Nursing, Health Sciences and Management (Taiwan) conducted a study to investigate the effects of direct fed microbials on energy metabolism in different tissues of broiler chickens. The researchers wanted to learn how consuming microbials and probiotics could change energy use and immune function. Typically, direct fed microbials and probiotics are used to improve livestock health, but how they actually work is not fully understood.

These findings could have long standing implications as producers feel the pressure to move away from the sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics.

"Microbials are not a direct replacement [for sub-therapeutic antibiotics] but an opportunity through a different mechanism," said Matthew Koci, coauthor of the study and assistant professor in the department of poultry science at North Carolina State University.

In the study, 192 one-day-old broiler chicks were assigned to two different diets. One of the diets was a standard control starter diet (CSD) and the other was a CSD with direct fed microbials (DFMD). The researchers then injected twelve broilers from each diet group with sheep red blood cells at days seven, 14 and 21. The presence of sheep red blood cells challenged the chicks' immune systems without actually causing illness.

"We wanted to give the immune system something to respond to and didn't want to change the metabolism with a disease," said Koci.

Researchers measured several parameters, including body weight, whole-body energy expenditure, tissue respiration rates, and energy metabolism.

Over a 28-day period, the researchers found no difference in body weight or feed efficiency between broilers fed CSD or DFMD. In fact, there was no d
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Contact: Madeline McCurry-Schmidt
madelinems@asas.org
217-689-2435
American Society of Animal Science
Source:Eurekalert

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