Probiotics and prebiotics may boost body weight gain for broilers: Study

By Stephen Daniells

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Probiotics and prebiotics may boost body weight gain for broilers: Study

Related tags Weight gain Gut flora Probiotic Lactobacillus

Supplementing the diets of broilers with prebiotics or probiotics may boost body weight gain and feed conversion rates, according to new research from Malaysia.

Researchers from the Universiti Putra Malaysia report that prebiotic isomalto-oligosaccharides or a probiotic consisting of 11 Lactobacillus strains, or a combination of both, also decrease E.coli levels in the feces of the broilers after 21 days.

“The exact mechanism(s) underlying the growth-promoting effects of probiotic and prebiotic is unclear but it is apparent that both probiotic and prebiotic function by modifying the intestinal microflora,” ​wrote the researchers in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture​.

“Probiotic acts by maintaining the dynamic equilibrium of the microbiota, and prebiotic functions by selectively stimulating the growth and activity of colonic beneficial bacteria. These beneficial effects could reduce digestive disorders and contribute to better health and vitality of the host animal. Since healthy animals utilize and convert nutrients of ingested feeds effectively into constant growth, the beneficial impact of probiotic and prebiotic on the intestinal microbiota could lead to improved daily weight gain and feed conversion.

“Thus, it is not surprising that in the present study the FCR was improved in probiotic-fed broiler chickens.”

Study details

The Malaysian researchers tested the effects of the prebiotics, probiotics, or a synbiotic combination of the two in 540 one-day old male broiler chicks. The probiotic blend contained 11 Lactobacillus strains, including L. reuteri​ C 1, C 10 and C 16; L. gallinarum​ I 16 and I 26; L. brevis​ I 12, I 23, I 25, I 218 and I 211, and L. salivarius​ I 24.

"These beneficial effects [of probiotics and prebiotics] could reduce digestive disorders and contribute to better health and vitality of the host animal." - Mookiah et al

The birds were followed until 42 days of age, with results showing that supplementing the diets of the broilers with the prebiotics, probiotics, and the synbiotics significantly improved weight gain and feed conversion rate.

Populations of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria in the cecum also improved as a result of all three types of supplementation, while cecal populations of E.coli​ were also reduced at 21 days of age.

“In view of a worldwide attempt to restrict or ban the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in animal production, probiotics, prebiotics and combinations of both, as synbiotics, have been suggested as potential alternatives,” ​wrote the researchers.

“The results of the study indicated that prebiotic IMO (5 g kg−1 or 10 g kg−1), probiotic and their combinations as synbiotics were effective in improving the performance of broiler chickens and in increasing the caecal beneficial bacteria and fatty acids.”

Source: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
30 January 2014, Volume 94, Issue 2, pages 341–348, doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6365
“Effects of dietary prebiotics, probiotic and synbiotics on performance, caecal bacterial populations and caecal fermentation concentrations of broiler chickens”
Authors: Mookiah S, Sieo CC, Ramasamy K, Abdullah N, Ho YW.

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