JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Supplementation of direct-fed microbials as an alternative to antibiotic on growth performance, immune response, cecal microbial population, and ileal morphology of broiler chickens

H M Salim, H K Kang, N Akter, D W Kim, J H Kim, M J Kim, J C Na, H B Jong, H C Choi, O S Suh, W K Kim
Poultry Science 2013, 92 (8): 2084-90
23873556
An experiment was conducted to investigate the supplementation of direct-fed microbials (DFM) as an alternative to antibiotics on growth performance, immune response, cecal microbial population, and ileal morphology of broiler chickens. A total of 800 one-day-old male broiler chicks (Ross × Ross) were randomly allotted to 4 dietary treatments with 4 replicate pens per treatment (50 birds/replicate pen). The 4 dietary treatments fed for 35 d were a corn-soybean meal basal diet (control); control plus 0.1% virginiamycin, as an antibiotic growth promoter (AGP); control plus 0.1% direct-fed microbials that contained Lactobacillus reuteri (DFM 1); and control plus 0.1% direct-fed microbials that contained a mixture of L. reuteri, Bacillus subtilis, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae (DFM 2). Results showed that dietary AGP and DFM supplementation significantly increased (P < 0.05) the BW gain of broilers during 0 to 21 d. The feed intake was reduced, whereas the feed conversion was improved significantly when birds were fed DFM 2 at 0 to 7 d of age. The white blood cell and monocyte levels were significantly higher in the DFM 2 group compared with the control. In addition, feeding DFM significantly (P < 0.05) increased the plasma immunoglobulin levels where a higher level was observed in DFM 2 compared with those of the other treatments. Neither DFM nor AGP treatments affected the cecal Lactobacillus and Salmonella content; however, cecal Escherichia coli content significantly decreased in broiler chickens fed DFM and AGP. The ileal villus height, and width and total thickness of muscularis externa were significantly increased when birds were fed DFM compared with AGP and control. These results indicate that the dietary supplementation of DFM increases the growth performance of birds at an early age, stimulates the immune response, decreases the number of E. coli, and improves the ileal morphology of broiler chickens. Thus, DFM that contained a mixture of several beneficial microorganisms could be a viable alternative to antibiotics in the broiler diets.

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