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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Animal Disease Center » Food Safety and Enteric Pathogens Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #366838

Research Project: Intestinal Microbial Ecology and Metagenomic Strategies to Reduce Antibiotic Resistance and Foodborne Pathogens

Location: Food Safety and Enteric Pathogens Research

Title: The microbial pecking order: utilization of intestinal microbiota for poultry health

item MAKI, JOEL - Orise Fellow
item KLIMA, CASSIDY - Iowa State University
item Sylte, Matthew
item Looft, Torey

Submitted to: Microorganisms
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/16/2019
Publication Date: 9/20/2019
Citation: Maki, J.J., Klima, C.L., Sylte, M.J., Looft, T.P. 2019. The microbial pecking order: utilization of intestinal microbiota for poultry health. Microorganisms. 7(10):376.

Interpretive Summary: Modulating the microbiome to enhance beneficial functions or microbes, without the use of antibiotics, is a promising way to improve animal health and production. To be successful, intervention strategies must be applied with consideration to microbiome composition, which differs between animal species, gut compartment, age, and production practices. Probiotics and prebiotics utilize beneficial microbes to improve digestion, intestinal health, or immune status. Several compounds released by intestinal bacteria also show promise as targets to enhance poultry health. Identifying ways the microbiome can be used to improve animal health will identify new intervention strategies to us in poultry production.

Technical Abstract: The loss of antibiotics as a tool to improve feed efficiency in poultry production has increased the urgency to understand how the microbiota interacts with animals to impact productivity and health. Modulating and harnessing microbiota-host interactions is a promising way to promote poultry health and production efficiencies without antibiotics. In poultry, the microbiome is influenced by many host and external factors including host species, age, gut compartment, diet, and environmental exposure to microbes. Because so many factors contribute to the microbiota composition, specific knowledge is needed to predict how the microbiome will respond to interventions. The effects of antibiotics on microbiomes have been well documented, with different classes of antibiotics having distinctive, specific outcomes on bacterial functions and membership. Non-antibiotic interventions, such as probiotics and prebiotics, target specific bacterial taxa or functions to enhance beneficial properties of microbes in the gut. Beneficial bacteria provide benefit by displacing pathogens and/or producing metabolites (e.g., short chain fatty acids or tryptophan metabolites) that promote poultry health by improving mucosal barrier function or immune function. Microbiota modulation has been used as a tool to reduce pathogen carriage, improve growth, and modulate the immune system. Increased understanding of how the microbiota interacts with animal hosts will improve microbiome intervention strategies to mitigate production losses without the need for antibiotics.