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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Animal Biosciences & Biotechnology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #312929

Title: The chicken gastrointestinal microbiome

item OAKLEY, BRIAN - Western University Of Health Sciences
item Lillehoj, Hyun
item Kogut, Michael - Mike
item PEDROSO, ADRIANA - University Of Georgia
item MAURER, JOHN - University Of Georgia
item LEE, MARGIE - University Of Georgia
item COLLETT, STEVEN - University Of Georgia
item COX, NELSON - University Of Georgia

Submitted to: Federation of European Microbiological Societies Microbiology Reviews
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/22/2014
Publication Date: 10/13/2014
Publication URL:
Citation: Oakley, B.B., Lillehoj, H.S., Kogut, M.H., Pedroso, A.H., Maurer, J.J., Lee, M.D., Collett, S.R., Cox, N.A. 2014. The chicken gastrointestinal microbiome. Federation of European Microbiological Societies Microbiology Reviews. 360(2):100-112.

Interpretive Summary: This is a comprehensive review on gut as a complex microbial ecosystem consisting of trillions of bacteria, many of which are beneficial and, that have an interdependent relationship with the host. This information will enahnce our understanding of important role that gut microbes play in host physiological development, health, nutrition, and food safety.

Technical Abstract: We are in the midst of what may, in retrospect, come to be referred to as the golden age of microbial ecology. Once considered as only a relatively few pathogens, the microorganisms and their genes (the microbiome) associated with higher organisms 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’ in concert with their microbiomes. The domestic chicken, Gallus gallus domesticus, with a global population (production?) exceeding 40 billion individuals per year has a unique status as ‘both the model and the system’ – chickens are common model organisms for human biology, 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 (G-I) tract is where bacterial abundance and diversity are highest and is the aspect of the poultry microbiome most relevant to animal health, nutrition, food safety, and public health. In this mini-review, we update earlier treatments of the topics and provide an overview of the current state of knowledge of the chicken G-I 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 to poultry nutrition.