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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Animal Biosciences & Biotechnology Laboratory » Research » Research Project #434530

Research Project: Effects of the Antioxidant Environment of the Gut Lumen on Growth, Metabolite and Microbial Composition in Broiler Chickens

Location: Animal Biosciences & Biotechnology Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-31000-108-004-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2018
End Date: Jun 30, 2019

The overarching goal is to develop and optimize management strategies that replace traditional antimicrobial growth promoters to control low level inflammation in the intestinal tract of domestic farm animals in order to preserve efficient nutrient absorption for growth and well-being. The specific objective of this project encompasses incorporation of nutrients known to be effective in altering the antioxidant character of the digesta into poultry feeds at cost-effective levels as a means of specifically combating cell injury coincident with low level inflammatory stresses in the intestinal tracts of broiler chickens. Results will be used to identify critical control points towards which additional interventions and refinement of existing interventions can be developed to facilitate sound gut health with specific attention being paid to (1) the effects of changing the anti-inflammatory status of the gut lumen on the microbiome and associated metabolome composition and (2) potential impacts on behavior as influenced by the tryptophane-serotonin/ neutrally active compound matrix of the gut, isoforms of tocopherols other than the traditional alpha-tocopherol and bioactive components of colostrum that would include the characterized oligosaccharide and eicosapentanoic acid matabolites.

Experiments are designed to identify the capacity for diet supplementation (including combinations of plant derived non-alpha-tocopherol isoforms, specific plant-derived flavonoids, polyphenols and phytoestrogens, or oils enriched in eicosapentanoic acids) to modify the antioxidant environment of different segments of the gut towards the goal of improved gut integrity and health. Specific and novel endpoints of interest include the microbial content of the gut including segmented filamentous bacteria and GIT and metabolites with known anti-inflammatory or behavior modifying character as well as molecular and biochemical markers of anti-inflammatory status and or a capacity to modulate aspects of immune cell function. Day-old Ross 708 broiler chicks will be reared to 12 days of age in standard brooder cages and given ad libitum access to the 23-24% crude protein basal diet and water. On day 12, the chicks will be weighed, transferred to individual feed efficiency cages, and maintained on the same feed for 3 days. On day 15, treatments will be assigned to the chicks. Broilers will be fed for 9 days at which time the animals will be euthanized. Digesta and epithelial cell scrap samples as well as tissue sections for microscopy analysis will be collected from the ileum, and cecum and processed for a full microbiome profile (16S rRNA amplicon based sequencing in house) and a metabolomic profiling (mass spec analysis, Metabalon, Inc., Durham, NC). The relative degree of nitrooxidative stress in the epithelial components of the gut will be assessed by quantitative immunohistochemical or protein electrophoretic Western blotting methods validated and used extensively in our laboratory. Behavioral impacts will be assessed by a team led by the Univ. of Maryland, College Park. Statistical Analysis: Data will be statistically analyzed in the mixed models framework.