Bacteriophage cocktail supplementation – broiler chickens
The poultry industry relies heavily on antibiotics for disease control and growth promotion, leading to concerns about the emergence of antibiotic resistance.
One potential solution is phage therapy, which uses viruses called phages to target and destroy specific bacterial hosts.
A recent study found that adding a phage cocktail to broiler chickens’ diets improved weight gain, immune system health and gut microbiome diversity.
This suggests that phage therapy could be an effective alternative to conventional antibiotics in the poultry industry.
However, more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits and limitations of phage therapy and how it can be used effectively on a larger scale. Nevertheless, these results provide hope for finding alternative solutions to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance in agriculture.
The authors Santi Devi Upadhaya, Je Min Ahn, Jae Hyoung Cho, Jin Young Kim, Dae Kyung Kang, Sung Woo Kim, Hyeun Bum Kim, and In Ho Kim published their research in the article Bacteriophage cocktail supplementation improves growth performance, gut microbiome and production traits in broiler chickens, dated 16 April 2021.
- Five hundred and four one-day-old broiler chickens were randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups: a control group, a group receiving Avilamax ®, a group receiving 0.05% bacteriophage, or a group receiving 0.1% bacteriophage.
- The study found that the addition of bacteriophage in the treated groups resulted in increased weight gain compared to the control group.
- The study also found that the addition of 0.05% bacteriophage was sufficient to support the immune organs and improve the gut microbiome of the treated birds, indicating its effectiveness as a replacement for antibiotics in broiler feeding.
Effective antibiotic alternatives are urgently needed in the poultry industry to control disease outbreaks. Phage therapy mainly utilizes lytic phages to kill their respective bacterial hosts and can be an attractive solution to combating the emergence of antibiotic resistance in livestock.
Five hundred and four, one-day-old broilers (Ross 308) were allotted to 1 of 4 treatment groups in a completely randomized design. Treatments consisted of CON (basal diet), PC (CON + 0.025% Avilamax®), BP 0.05 (CON + 0.05% bacteriophage), and BP 0.10 (CON + 0.10% bacteriophage).
A significant linear effect on body weight gain (BWG) was observed during days 1-7, days 22-35, and cumulatively in bacteriophage (BP) supplemented groups.
The BWG tended to be higher (P = 0.08) and the feed intake (FI) was increased (P = 0.017) in the PC group over CON group. A greater (P = 0.016) BWG and trends in increased FI (P = 0.06) were observed in the experiment in birds fed PC than CON diet.
At the genus level, the relative abundance of Lactobacillus was decreased in PC (65.28%), while it was similar in BP 0.05 and BP 0.10 (90.65%, 86.72%) compared to CON (90.19%).
At the species level, the relative abundance of Lactobacillus salivarus was higher in BP 0.05 (40.15%) and BP 0.10 (38.58%) compared to the CON (20.04%) and PC (18.05%).
A linear reduction in the weight of bursa of Fabricius (P = 0.022) and spleen (P = 0.052) was observed in birds fed graded level of BP and an increase (P = 0.059) in the weight of gizzard was observed in birds fed PC over BP diets.
Linear and quadratic responses were observed in redness of breast muscle color in birds fed graded level of BP.
The inclusion of the 0.05% and 0.1% BP cocktail linearly improved broiler weight during the first 7 days, 22-35 days and cumulatively, whereas 0.05% BP addition was sufficient for supporting immune organs, bursa and spleen as well as enhancing gut microbiome, indicating the efficacy of 0.05% BP as a substitute antibiotic growth promoter in broiler diets.
Keywords: Bacteriophage; Broiler chickens; Gut microbiome; Performance.
Copyright: the authors.