Characterization of Intestinal Microbiota and Response to Dietary Virginiamycin Supplementation in the Broiler Chicken

These findings provide improved profiling of the composition of the chicken intestinal microbiota and indicate that microbial responses to virginiamycin are most significant in the proximal small intestine

Tim J. Dumonceaux; Janet E. Hill; Sean M. Hemmingsen; Andrew G. Van Kessel


Scholarcy highlights

  • The animal gut is host to an abundant and diverse microbiota that plays an important role in the health and nutrition of the animal
  • Virginiamycin was associated with increased abundance of many of the targets in the proximal gastrointestinal tract, with fewer targets affected in the distal regions
  • The streptogramin antibiotic virginiamycin has been used for decades as an antibiotic growth promoters in poultry feeds, but recent concerns over the possible selection for genes conferring resistance to the human therapeutic antibiotic quinupristin-dalfopristin and the detection of quinupristin-dalfopristin-resistant strains of Enterococcus faecium and other potentially pathogenic enterococci in retail poultry samples have led some to question the practice of using virginiamycin and other AGPs in commercial settings
  • The chicken gastrointestinal microbiota has been characterized by culture-based analysis and, more recently, by molecular methods, including 16S rRNA gene sequencing and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis
  • We have used cpn60 gene sequencing to examine the microbiota in five locations in the chicken gastrointestinal tract in birds fed a control diet or a diet supplemented with virginiamycin
  • Clone frequencies were not an indication of true changes in response to virginiamycin; library group M was apparently very abundant in the library prepared from the contents of the mid-jejunum in birds fed no antibiotic compared to birds fed virginiamycin, but quantitative PCR analysis did not bear this out
  • An increase in lactobacilli and other targets in the proximal locations is in contrast to the findings of Knarreborg et al, who reported significant decreases in the viable counts of lactobacilli and C. perfringens in the ileum of 14- to 21-day-old broiler chickens fed diets containing avilamycin and salinomycin

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