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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Egg and Poultry Production Safety Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #399783

Research Project: Reduction of Foodborne Pathogens and Antimicrobial Resistance in Poultry Production Environments

Location: Egg and Poultry Production Safety Research Unit

Title: Environmental conditions shape the gut microbiome of broiler chicken

item Oladeinde, Adelumola - Ade
item JOHNSON, JSAMINE - University Of Georgia
item ZOCK, GREGORY - University Of Georgia
item MILFORT, MARIE - University Of Georgia
item FULLER, LORRAINE - University Of Georgia
item GHAREEB, AHMED - University Of Georgia
item FOUTZ, JAME - University Of Georgia
item TERAN, JOSE - University Of Georgia
item WOYDA, REED - Colorado State University
item ABDO, ZAID - Colorado State University
item Looft, Torey
item Plumblee Lawrence, Jodie
item AGGREY, SAMUEL - University Of Georgia

Submitted to: International Poultry Scientific Forum
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/5/2022
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The broiler house environment is one of the most important management factors that has been shown to significantly affect broiler performance, welfare, and health. However, there is limited data on how changes in house environmental factors affect the microbiome of broiler chickens. In this study, we investigated the effect of broiler house environmental conditions on the microbiome of chickens from post-hatch through pre-harvest. Six hundred 1-day old Cobb 500 broiler chicks were raised on floor pens for 49 days in two separate houses (House 1 and House 2). We performed short-read and full-length sequencing of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene present in the meconium and in cecal and litter samples collected over the duration of the study. We monitored the relative humidity, temperature, and ammonia in each house daily and the pH and moisture of litter samples weekly. The overall microbial community structure of the ceca and litter consistently changed throughout the course of the grow-out and was influenced by the environmental parameters measured (P<0.05). The litter microbiome was affected by the five parameters measured while the cecal microbiome was influenced by house temperature only. We found that the ceca and litter microbiome were similar in the two houses at the beginning of the experiment, but over time, the bacterial community separated and differed between the houses. When we compared the environmental parameters in the two houses, we found no significant differences in the first half of the growth cycle (day 0-21), but morning temperature, morning humidity, and ammonia significantly differed (P<0.05) between the two houses from day 22-49. Lastly, chickens in House 2 experienced higher mortality, lower body weight and were more likely to harbor pathogens including Salmonella compared to house 1. These results show that the environmental conditions in a broiler house can influence the microbiome of raised chickens.