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An update on direct-fed microbials in broiler chickens in post-antibiotic era

Lee, Kyung-Woo, Lillehoj, Hyun S.
Animal production science 2017 v.57 no.8 pp. 1575-1581
bioinformatics, broiler chickens, diet, digestive system diseases, environmental factors, feed additives, growth promotion, health status, host-pathogen relationships, immune system, immunity, intestinal microorganisms, litter (bedding), mechanism of action, poultry feeding, poultry industry
In a post-antibiotic era, applying dietary alternatives to antibiotics into diets of chickens has become a common practice to improve the productivity and health status of chickens. It is generally accepted that direct-fed microbials (DFMs), defined as a source of viable, naturally occurring microorganisms, as an alternative to antibiotics, have a long history for their safe use and health benefit and are generally regarded for therapeutic, prophylactic and growth-promotion uses in poultry industry. It has been suggested that two primary modes of action by DFMs are balancing gut microbiota and modulating host immunity. Recent findings have suggested that gut microbiota plays an important role in developing immune system and maintaining the homeostasis of mature immune system in mammals and chickens. With the help of molecular and bioinformatics tools, it is now scientifically proven that gut microbiota is diverse, dynamic, and varies according to age, breed, diet composition, environment and feed additives. Broiler chickens are commonly raised on the floor with bedding materials, which facilitates the acquisition of microorganisms present in the bedding materials. Thus, it is expected that environmental factors, including the type of litter, influence host immunity in a positive or negative way. In this regard, adding DFMs into diets of chickens will affect host–microbe interaction, shaping host immunity towards increasing resistance of chickens to enteric diseases.