Spirulina and selenium nanoparticles may help combat the negative impact of heat stress on broilers

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/davit85
© GettyImages/davit85

Related tags Heat stress spirulina Poultry

A study by Egyptian researchers found that Spirulina platensis and selenium nanoparticles (SeNPs) improved growth, antioxidative and immune status of heat-stressed broilers.

Heat stress is one of the most common environmental stressors for poultry industry, and has negative influences on animal physiology, health, and productivity, with broilers particularly susceptible.

The experts, writing in the Journal of Thermal Biology​, saw that dietary inclusion of S. platensis​ and SeNPs reduced the microbial load in broilers' diets as well. 

The researchers said their study was conducted to assess the impact of dietary incorporation of Spirulina platensis and SeNPs individually or in combinations on growth performance, antioxidant status, humoral immune response, and microbial populations in diet and ileum of heat-stressed broilers.


Some 450 Ross-308 one-day chicks were fed one of nine diets with five replicate cages in two phases for 35 days.

The experimental diets were a control basal diet without supplementation or with 0.1 mg SeNPs, 0.2 mg SeNPs, 5g Spirulina, 10g Spirulina, 0.1 mg SeNPs plus 5g Spirulina, 0.1 mg SeNPs plus 10g Spirulina, 0.2 mg SeNPs plus 5 g Spirulina, and 0.2 mg SeNPs plus 10 g Spirulina per kg diet.


Dietary supplementation with Spirulina and SeNPs significantly increased body weight gain and European production efficiency factor (EPEF), which is an equation based on average daily weight gain, mortality and feed conversion, reported the authors.

The antioxidant enzymes, serum glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and superoxide dismutase (SOD), were significantly increased with dietary spirulina and SeNPs supplementation, while thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), a by-product of lipid oxidative damage, decreased, the researchers found.

Circulating immunoglobulin IgM, IgA and IgG were increased in treated birds compared to the control ones, while the antibody titers to infectious bursal disease (IBD), Avian influenza viruses (AIV), and Newcastle disease virus (NDV) were not significantly altered, they said.

The results showed that SeNPs and Spirulina exhibited dose-dependent antimicrobial activities against ileal counts of total bacterial, total molds and yeast, coliform, E. coli​, Salmonella​ spp. and Enterococcus​ spp. However, ileal populations of Lactic acid bacteria were increased with dietary spirulina and SeNPs in a dose-dependent manner, observed the team.

“These results indicate that Spirulina and SeNPs can be potentially used as growth promoters and antioxidant, immunostimulant, and antimicrobial agents in heat-stressed broilers,” ​concluded the authors.

Related topics R&D

Related news