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Tall oil fatty acid inclusion in the diet improves performance and increases ileal density of lactobacilli in broiler chickens

Vienola, K., Jurgens, G., Vuorenmaa, J., Apajalahti, J.
British poultry science 2018 v.59 no.3 pp. 349-355
Clostridium perfringens, Enterococcus, Escherichia coli, Lactobacillus, body weight changes, broiler chickens, broiler feeding, coatings, conifers, conjugated linolenic acid, diet, digesta, distillation, feed conversion, growth retardation, ileum, liquids, microorganisms, pulp, resin acids, silica, tall oil, wheat
1. Studies were conducted with tall oil fatty acids (TOFA) to determine their effect on broiler chicken performance and ileal microbiota. TOFA, a product originating from coniferous trees and recovered by fractional distillation of side-streams from pulp production, mainly comprises free long-chain fatty acids (~90%) and resin acids (~8%). Conjugated linolenic acids and pinolenic acid are characteristic fatty acid components of TOFA. 2. TOFA products at 750 mg/kg feed were tested in two 35-day broiler chicken trials, each using a wheat soya-based diet and with 12 replicate pens per treatment. In both trials, TOFA improved body weight gain at all time points (P < 0.001) and feed conversion efficiency during the first 21 days (P < 0.01). Two different dry TOFA formulations (silica carrier and palm oil coating) were tested and showed performance effects similar to liquid TOFA. 3. Ileal digesta of the broiler chickens was analysed for total eubacteria, Lactobacillus spp., Enterococcus spp., Escherichia coli and Clostridium perfringens on days 14 and 35. TOFA significantly increased total eubacteria and lactobacilli density on day 14 (P < 0.05). There was a significant positive correlation between these bacterial groups and broiler body weight on day 14 (P < 0.01). 4. A numerical reduction in C. perfringens was observed. In vitro growth inhibition studies showed that C. perfringens was strongly inhibited by 10 mg/l TOFA (P < 0.001), while common lactobacilli were resistant to >250 mg/l. The in vitro results were thus in line with in vivo observations. 5. The mechanisms behind the bacterial shifts and their role in performance improvement are unknown. Further purification of TOFA components is needed to identify the effective agents.