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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Food and Feed Safety Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #372126

Research Project: Identification of the Ecological Niches and Development of Intervention Strategies to Reduce Pathogenic Foodborne Pathogens in Poultry

Location: Food and Feed Safety Research

Title: Dietary supplementation with a microencapsulated blend of organic acids and botanicals alters the kinome in the ileum and jejunum of Gallus gallus

item Swaggerty, Christina - Christi
item ARSENAULT, RYAN - University Of Delaware
item JOHNSON, CASEY - University Of Delaware
item PIVA, ANDREA - University Of Bologna
item GRILLI, ESTER - University Of Bologna

Submitted to: PLOS ONE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/16/2020
Publication Date: 7/30/2020
Citation: Swaggerty, C.L., Arsenault, R.J., Johnson, C., Piva, A., Grilli, E. 2020. Dietary supplementation with a microencapsulated blend of organic acids and botanicals alters the kinome in the ileum and jejunum of Gallus gallus. PLoS One. 15(7):e0236950.

Interpretive Summary: The poultry industry is using fewer antibiotics to grow chickens, so alternative products are being considered, to take their place. One approach is to use natural products as feed additives; however, most of those studies only want to know if the bird grows with little regard to how the product is actually working. Our laboratory has designed a chicken array so we can understand how the feed additive is working. The array is a tool that allows us to determine specific immune and metabolic pathways that are activated in the bird so we can monitor the health-status (immune) and growth performance (metabolic) in chickens. The objective of this project was to determine the main immune and metabolic pathways activated in chickens fed a diet supplemented with a natural compound (capsules containing organic acids and botanicals [AviPlus®P]). Chicks were divided into two groups and given either a control diet with no feed additive or a diet supplemented with the natural feed additive. The chickens were terminated after 15 days, and two different sections (ileum and jejunum) of their intestine were removed and analyzed using our array. Using special computer programs, we found differences between immune and metabolic pathways that were activated in the supplement-fed chickens compared to the chickens on the control diet. The increased activation in the supplemented chickens shows the natural feed additive used in this study promoted a healthy immune system in chicks and also promoted growth. Taken together, this natural feed additive is a good alternative to antibiotics and can be used by the poultry industry to grow healthy chickens that will be a safe and wholesome product for the consumer.

Technical Abstract: The use of natural products as feed additives in the poultry industry is increasing; however, most studies evaluating feed additives focus on performance and growth parameters with little regard for determining the mode-of-action. Our laboratory has designed chicken-specific arrays targeting immune and metabolism kinome activities. Examining the active kinase enzymes responsible for phosphorylation events on proteins provides important information into host and cellular functions. The objective of this project was to determine if feeding a microencapsulated product comprised of a blend of organic acids and botanicals (AviPlus®P) impacts the intestinal kinome. Day-of-hatch broiler chicks were assigned to either a control group with no additive or a group given 500g/MT provided in a starter diet (n=10/group; 2 replicate pens). Chicks were allowed ad libitum access to their diet and were euthanized at day 15 and jejunal and ileal segments collected for kinome analysis (total n=20/group) to determine the mode-of-action of the feed additive. Gene ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis was performed by uploading the statistically significant peptide lists to the Search Tool for the Retrieval of Interacting Genes database (STRING; As a whole, GO and KEGG analysis showed similar activities in the ileum and jejunum. However, there were a small number of KEGG pathways that were only activated in either the ileum or jejunum, but not both tissues. Collectively, the data demonstrates the differential response between ileal and jejunal tissues in chickens fed a diet containing a microencapsulated blend of organic acids and botanicals compared to a control diet offering mechanistic details to show how the feed additive increases growth rate and feed efficiency in broilers.