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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Poultry Microbiological Safety & Processing Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #306528

Research Project: MOLECULAR APPROACHES FOR THE CHARACTERIZATION OF FOODBORNE PATHOGENS IN POULTRY

Location: Poultry Microbiological Safety & Processing Research

Title: Mini-review of the chicken gastrointestinal microbiome

Author
item Oakley, Brian
item Lillehoj, Hyun
item Kogut, Michael - Mike
item Kim, Woo
item Maurer, John
item Pedroso, Adriana
item Lee, Margie
item Collett, Stephen
item Johnson, Timothy
item Cox, Nelson - Nac

Submitted to: FEMS Microbiology Letters
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/22/2014
Publication Date: 10/13/2014
Citation: Oakley, B.B., Lillehoj, H.S., Kogut, M.H., Kim, W.K., Maurer, J.J., Pedroso, A., Lee, M.D., Collett, S.R., Johnson, T.J., Cox Jr, N.A. 2014. Mini-review of the chicken gastrointestinal microbiome. FEMS Microbiology Letters. 360(2):100-122. doi: 10.1111/1574-6968.12608.

Interpretive Summary: The microorganisms associated with higher organisms have come to be called the microbiome. The microbiome of poultry is now recognized not only as a potential source of bacteria that can make humans sick, but also as a critical influence on the health and productivity of this commercially important agricultural animal. In this review article, we provide an overview of the current state of knowledge of the chicken microbiome focusing on how the microbiome changes through time as broiler chickens mature to typical market age of 6 weeks. We also summarize the presence and importance of human pathogens in the chicken microbiome, the influence of the microbiota on the immune system, and the importance of the microbiome for poultry nutrition.

Technical Abstract: We are in the midst of what may, in retrospect, come to be referred to as the golden age of microbial ecology. The microorganisms and their genes associated with higher organisms (the microbiome) that were once viewed primarily as sources of human pathogens are now recognized as complex communities with important influences on the health and disease status of the host. Indeed, it has been suggested that humans (and other multi-cellular organisms) should actually be considered as ‘supra-organisms’ interacting in concert with their microbiomes. The domestic chicken, Gallus gallus domesticus, with a global population exceeding 40 billion individuals per year has a unique status as ‘both the model and the system’ – chickens are common model organisms for human biological research, and of course also comprise a multi-billion dollar global protein industry. Although microbes are found in association with virtually all parts of the bird, the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract is where bacterial abundance and diversity are highest and the GI microbiome is most relevant to animal health, nutrition, food safety, and public health. In this mini-review, we update earlier treatments of the topic and provide an overview of the current state of knowledge of the chicken GI 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.