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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » Livestock Behavior Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #348481

Research Project: Protecting the Welfare of Food Producing Animals

Location: Livestock Behavior Research

Title: Effects of probiotic supplementation on performance traits, bone mineralization, cecal microbial composition, cytokines, and corticosterone in laying hens

item YAN, FEIFEI - Zhejiang A & F University
item MURUGESAN, GANAPATHI RAJ - Biomin America, Inc
item Cheng, Heng-Wei

Submitted to: Animal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/9/2018
Publication Date: 5/22/2018
Citation: Yan, F., Murugesan, G., Cheng, H. 2018. Effects of probiotic supplementation on performance traits, bone mineralization, cecal microbial composition, cytokines, and corticosterone in laying hens. Animal. 1-9.

Interpretive Summary: Most probiotic research in poultry has been focused on performance, intestinal microflora and histological changes, as well as immunomodulation. Little is known about the influence of probiotics on skeletal health. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of dietary supplementation of probiotics on performance and skeletal health of laying hens. Results showed that dietary probiotic supplementation had a significantly positive effect on eggshell quality, skeletal health, and cecal microbiota composition in laying hens. These results can be used by egg producers to develop management guidelines for improving laying hen welfare.

Technical Abstract: Recent research has showed that probiotics promote bone health in humans and rodents. The objective of this study was to determine if probiotics have similar effects in laying hens. Ninety-six 60-week-old White Leghorn hens were assigned to 4-hen cages based on their body weight. The cages were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 treatments: a layer diet mixed with a commercial probiotic product at 0, 0.5, 1.0 or 2.0 g/kg feed (Control, 0.5X, 1.0X, and 2.0X) for 7 weeks. Cecal Bifidobacterium spp. counts were higher in all probiotic groups (P < 0.001) compared to control group. The percentage of unmarketable eggs (cracked and shell-less eggs) was decreased in both 0.5X and 2.0X groups compared to control group (P = 0.02), mainly due to the reduction of shell-less eggs (P = 0.05). The increases in tibial and femoral mineral density and femoral mineral content (P = 0.04, 0.03, and 0.02, respectively), with a concomitant trend of increases in humerus mineral density and tibial mineral content (P = 0.07 and 0.08, respectively), occurred in the 2.0X group. However, the bone remodeling indicators of circulating osteocalcin and c-terminal telopeptide of type I collagen were similar among all groups (P > 0.05). In addition, the plasma concentrations of cytokines (interleukin-1ß, interleukin-6, interleukin-10, interferon-' and tumor necrosis factor-a) and corticosterone as well as the levels of heterophil to lymphocyte ratio were similar between 2.0X group and control group (P > 0.05). In line with these findings, no differences of cecal tonsil mRNA expressions of interleukin-1ß, interleukin-6, and lipopolysaccharide-induced tumor necrosis factor-a were detected between these two groups (P > 0.05). These results suggest that immune cytokines and corticosterone may not be involved in the probiotic-induced improvement of eggshell quality and bone mineralization in laying hens. In conclusion, the dietary probiotic supplementation altered cecal microbiota composition, resulting in reduced shell-less egg production and improved bone mineralization in laying hens; and the dietary dose of the probiotic up to 2.0X did not cause negative stress reactions in laying hens.