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The chicken gastrointestinal microbiome

Oakley, Brian B., Lillehoj, Hyun S., Kogut, Michael H., Kim, Woo K., Maurer, John J., Pedroso, Adriana, Lee, Margie D., Collett, Stephen R., Johnson, Timothy J., Cox, Nelson A.
FEMS microbiology letters 2014 v.360 no.2 pp. 100-112
Bacteroides, Firmicutes, antibiotics, chickens, competitive exclusion, gastrointestinal system, humans, immune system, industry, intestinal microorganisms, meta-analysis, metagenomics, microbiome, nutrition, pathogens, phylogeny, poultry diseases, probiotics, temporal variation
The domestic chicken is a common model organism for human biological research and of course also forms the basis of a global protein industry. Recent methodological advances have spurred the recognition of microbiomes as complex communities with important influences on the health and disease status of the host. In this minireview, we provide an overview of the current state of knowledge of the chicken gastrointestinal microbiome focusing on spatial and temporal variability, the presence and importance of human pathogens, the influence of the microbiota on the immune system, and the importance of the microbiome for poultry nutrition. Review and meta‐analysis of public data showed cecal communities dominated by Firmicutes and Bacteroides at the phylum level, while at finer levels of taxonomic resolution, a phylogenetically diverse assemblage of microorganisms appears to have similar metabolic functions that provide important benefits to the host as inferred from metagenomic data. This observation of functional redundancy may have important implications for management of the microbiome. We foresee advances in strategies to improve gut health in commercial operations through management of the intestinal microbiota as an alternative to in‐feed subtherapeutic antibiotics, improvements in pre‐ and probiotics, improved management of polymicrobial poultry diseases, and better control of human pathogens via colonization reduction or competitive exclusion strategies.