L Aeveraging gut microbe-host interactions for performance dvances in and performance factors, commercial poultry and will examine approaches production have been for impacting host-microbe driving increased interactions. bird growth and production efficiency for decades, and the industry is well positioned to meet the world’s burgeoning demand for high quality protein. However, performance improvements must go handin-hand with concern for public health and food safety, animal health and welfare, and environmental impact.
Understanding the role of the gastrointestinal (GI) microbiota in poultry health and performance can help producers develop strategies to achieve consistent growth performance and increased livability while keeping broader considerations in balance. We explore the effect of gastrointestinal microbiota on host health
Development of the avian gastrointestinal microbiota: the early days
Microbial exposure during the early days of a chick’s life can have a critical influence on development of the GI microbiota and subsequently on health and performance over the bird’s lifespan. The GI tract provides an inviting habitat for a diverse range of inhabitants, and by day one post-hatch, bacterial density can rise to 108 and 1010 cells/g of digesta in the proximal and distal intestine, respectively (Apajalahti et al., 2004).
Some of these microorganisms support health and performance of the host, while others are non-beneficial. Colibacillosis, caused by avian pathogenic E. coli (APEC), contributes to major economic losses throughout the poultry industry worldwide. Found in birds of all ages, APEC can be particularly problematic in newly hatched chicks, and research indicates that vertical transmission is a potential route of infection in young birds (Giovanardi et al., 2005). Recent work in our laboratory found APEC isolates of similar genotypes and virulotypes in gut samples from broiler breeders and their progeny (Lambrecht et al., 2015). In this study, E. coli was→