March 16, 2020

Interpretive Summary: Probiotics in Broiler Chicken Diets

Interpretive Summary: Composition and inclusion of probiotics in broiler diets alter intestinal permeability and spleen immune cell profiles without negatively affecting performance

By: Anne Wallace

Probiotic bacteria produce lactic acid and other small molecules, which can alter the gut microbiome or provide benefits to gastrointestinal health. Probiotics are also useful as prophylactics to prevent infection in animal production systems which do not use antibiotics.

In this January 2020 study published in the Journal of Animal Science, researchers evaluated how probiotics impacted the performance, gut integrity, and splenic immune cell profiles of broiler chickens. They hypothesized that the administration of probiotics would benefit the health of broiler chickens.

LactoCare (Lactobacillus reuteri) and LactoPlan (L. plantarum) were fed to chickens at 0.05% or 0.10% of feed, or not at all (control diet), for 6 weeks.  No changes were noted in the performance of any of the chickens based on their feed. Gut barrier integrity was improved in the probiotic groups (both low and high doses of LactoCare and in the high dose of LactoPlan), when compared to the control feed group. Spleen immune cell profiles were also improved in chickens fed probiotics.

Overall, this study suggests that supplementing L. reuteri and L. plantarum in chicken feed has positive impacts on intestinal health and spleen immune cell profiles. More studies on the effect different combinations of probiotics may have on these factors is justified.