Start Date: Jun 01, 2013
End Date: Dec 01, 2015
The investigators will identify microbes and genes associated with both low and high FCE to create both rapid diagnostic assays for poor performance and a defined, transferable microbial community that can improve FCE. Concurrently, the ability of this community to reduce broiler colonization by human pathogens Salmonella and Campylobacter will be evaluated. Defining and manipulating the poultry gut microbiome may ultimately provide new products as alternatives to antibiotics for improving food safety and feed efficiency. The project is centered on a unique long-term poultry genetics experiment in which broilers with the best and worst feed conversion ratios have been selected and bred for four generations. Two approaches will define and compare the intestinal microflora of birds with significantly different FCE. First, next-generation DNA sequencing will provide a comprehensive census of the microflora to compare presence and abundance of bacterial species between the two flocks. Second, metagenomics will reveal metabolic pathways of the microflora which contribute to differences in FCE.