resilience chicken

Scientific abstract – Feed conference 2021

Effect of a gut agility activator on underlying mechanisms for adaptive capacity of organs vital for resilience in chickens

Scientific abstract published in the proceedings of the Feed Conference 2021, 23-24th June 2021

Authors: Jones, G.M. and Mountzouris, K.C.

Adaptive mechanisms on the cellular level in the gut and liver of broilers were investigated in response to a gut agility activator (GAA) comprising a botanical formula.

One-day-old male Cobb broilers (n=500) were allocated to 4 different treatments diets with 0, 750, 1000 and 2000 mg/kg GAA (Anco FIT Poultry) for 42 days. Each treatment was replicated 5 times with 25 birds each. Birds were euthanized at 42 days and tissue samples of liver and mucosa along the intestine were taken from 10 chickens per treatment for analysis of gene expression and 20 birds per treatment for biochemical analysis. Data were analysed by ANOVA and significant effects (P≤0.05) were compared using Tukey HSD test. Polynomial contrasts tested the linear and quadratic effect of GAA inclusion levels.

Total anti-oxidative capacity (TAC) was improved in the liver (P=0.040) and at 1000 g/kg intestinal TAC was higher in the duodenum (P=0.011) and the ceca (P=0.050) compared to the control. Furthermore, critical genes for enzymes belonging to the Nrf2/ antioxidant response element (ARE) pathway (SOD1, GPX2, HMOX1, NQO1, Nrf2 and Keap1) were upregulated in the duodenum and the ceca mainly in a quadratic way (P ≤ 0.05) compared to the control. Increasing GAA downregulated genes for NF-KB1 in a quadratic pattern and TLR4 and HSP70 linearly in the duodenum and ceca.

The data indicates that the GAA is positively impacting underlying adaptive mechanisms at the cellular level in the liver and certain parts of the gut which could play a role in modulating the response of birds to stressors and thus increase resilience. The effects were dependent on GAA inclusion level. Commercial applications using the effective inclusion levels of this experiment showed a positive effect on performance in the face of stressors such as heat and mycotoxins in broilers and increased laying persistence in layers at the later stages of the laying cycle. Establishing standards to evaluate resilience in poultry along with further research using the GAA under stress-challenge environments are warranted.

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Feed conference 2021

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