Tackling gut health impairment at its roots
Gut health is a key target for digestive efficiency which goes hand in hand with birds performance. By supporting the underlying factors favoring gut health in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), a patented mixture of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) – Aromabiotic® Poultry – positively influences the intestinal microflora via a unique mode of action.
In modern poultry production, domestic birds are raised to optimally transform dietary protein into meat and egg products. Quite intuitively, the GIT has always been regarded as a key element of this process due to its essential nutrient uptake function. However, the increasing knowledge gained around the GIT over the last decades has unveiled some of its complementary roles. Going beyond the boundaries of the digestive physiology, the GIT is a network of organs involved in host innate and adaptative immunity, tissue defense against pathogens, chemical sensing or hormonal signaling.
The GIT is thus at the crossroads of several biological functions essential for physiological homeostasis. Keeping this in mind, an optimal gut health can be considered indispensable for host resilience to disease and various stressors. By supporting animal health and performance, gut health is an intrinsic part of sustainable poultry production.
Tackling the root causes of gut health impairment
Dysbiosis is defined as an alteration of resident microbial communities by pathobionts (e.g. Clostridium perfringens, pathogenic E. coli, Salmonella etc.) potentially leading to a disease state. Dysbiosis is a common indicator of the health status of the digestive tract, but interestingly often a consequence of gut health impairment rather than its cause.
Several factors can lead to dysbiosis in poultry. For example, an intestinal inflammation can alter the resident microbiota and favor pathobiont niches. Yet, one of the most prominent factors leading to dysbiosis is an excess of undigested nutrients reaching the lower GIT that feeds undesired bacteria. The root causes to look for under such circumstances include suboptimal physiological conditions in the proximal GIT allowing nutrients to reach the lower intestine in excessive amounts. Supporting the physiology of the proximal GIT to optimize nutrient absorption is therefore a key tool to favor gut health and control dysbiosis.
The InnoLab (Nuscience) has developed an in vitro model to assess the antibacterial effect of candidate molecules while mimicking the physiological conditions of the proximal GIT.
Results for Aromabiotic® Poultry are given in the Figure below, focusing at some representatives of the most abundant bacterial groups encountered in this section of the GIT.
At the inclusion rate of 0.13%, which is comparable to the commercial dose, the population of E. coli was reduced by Aromabiotic® Poultry by 74% compared with the control. Little effect was observed on the growth of Lactobacillus rhamnosus. At the higher doses of 0.20% and 0.27%, the growth of E. coli was inhibited and the population of Lactobacillus was reduced by the addition Aromabiotic® Poultry (corresponding to at least a 1 log reduction).
Taking advantage of the low physiological pH in the proximal GIT, the MCFAs of Aromabiotic® Poultry remain mostly in their active (undissociated) form for a better control of the microbial population. This unique mode of action could prevent an excessive flow of dietary nutrients entering the lower intestine by limiting host-microbiota competition and bacterial overgrowth in the proximal GIT, where most of the nutrient uptake takes place. Additionally, the birds are provided with effective tools to contain pathogens entry in the GIT in the early steps of the digestive process. More results have demonstrated that Aromabiotic® Poultry improves the morphology of the duodenum and jejunum by significantly increasing the villi/crypt ratio, thus contributing to increasing the absorption capacity.
Overall, Aromabiotic® Poultry promotes gut health by preventing the root causes of dysbiosis via its action on the in the proximal GIT. It supports the intestine in its nutrient uptake function and contributes to the defense against pathogens.