Engormix/Poultry Industry/Technical articles

Poultry: pathogen control in antibiotic-free production

Published on: 6/25/2019
Author/s : Melina Bonato & Liliana Longo Borges (R&D, ICC Brazil)
Recently, many studies have been investigating the impact of antibiotics on the gut microbiota, and researchers have shown that, in addition to altering the composition of the microbiota, antibiotics also can affect the gene expression, protein activity and the overall metabolism of the intestinal microbiota. Microbial changes caused by antibiotics, increase the immediate risk of infection and can also affect basic immunological homeostasis in the long-term.
With this new reality, it is imperative that the production chain adapts and applies a strict plan of management, health, and nutrition, since the transmission could be by the ration, environment or even vertical (from the breeder to the chicken/laying hen), so proper management plan is essential in this control.
There are several alternatives on the market to control pathogenic bacteria, such as products that act on the feed as bactericidal antimicrobials, or that act on the animal organism, such as probiotics, organic acids, plant extracts, prebiotics, etc. Each product has a different mode of action, directly or indirectly, modulating the microbiota and the response of the immune system.
The yeast cell wall from Saccharomyces cerevisiae is one of the solutions that can help with the pathogen control program since it is a natural solution that helps to reduce the contamination and prevent the problem. Based on this concept, ImmunoWall® stands out from others products because is composed by a dense yeast cell wall of Saccharomyces cerevisiae with high concentrations of β-Glucans and MOS, resulting in a feed additive with proven results and great cost/benefit.
MOS is known for its capacity to agglutinate pathogens. It will prevent pathogen colonization in the gut as it offers a binding site to harmful bacteria that possess type 1 fimbriae present in the intestinal tract and it will be excreted together with the fecal material.
The β-glucans acts as modulators of the immune response of the animals as they are natural stimulants of the innate immune system. When phagocytic cells are in contact with β-glucans, these cells are stimulated, and cytokines are produced. The production of cytokines will trigger a “chain reaction,” inducing a higher immune status in animals, making them able to resist opportunistic infections better.
A recent study by Beirãoet al. (2018), where broilers were given ImmunoWall® (0.5 kg/ton) and infected at 2 days old with Salmonella Enteritidis [SE] (orally at 108 CFU/broiler), showed that ImmunoWall® supplementation resulted in higher production of anti-Salmonella IgA at 14 days old. This indicates that the immune system had a quicker and stronger specific response, using less energy and nutrients, as the inflammatory response seemed to be shorter.
Poultry: pathogen control in antibiotic-free production - Image 1
Graph 1. Relative IgA quantification in reagent serum against bacterial LPS. The cut-off line is shown. Different letters on each group indicate statistical relevance. ANOVA test with Tukey post-test (P<0.05, except when otherwise indicated).
SE can be a problem to broilers that still do not have a mature immune system, as they cannot fully control the infection. For this reason, most of the improved responses found in this study were observed up to day 14. Therefore, β-glucan supplementation can help broilers activate the immune system and have an early and quicker innate immune system response, reducing/minimizing the damages caused by pathogens and, consequently, performance impairment. This type of response is especially important in animals at early development stages, during reproduction, periods of stress and environmental challenges; acting as a prophylactic agent and increasing animal resistance, thus minimizing losses.
Several other studies have confirmed the efficacy of ImmunoWall® in reducing pathogen contamination in broilers and eggs (Hofacre et al., 2017; Ferreira et al., 2014), reducing mortality and improving productivity (Bonato et al., 2016; Rivera et al., 2018; Koiyama, et al. 2018), especially under challenge. There are no feed additives that can solve problems related to management, health plan, immunization, nutrition, water quality, among others. Additives are tools used to help control and prevent them. Intensive animal production is known to be extremely challenging. Therefore, strengthening the immune system can be one of the keys to higher productivity.
A link between quality, nutritional value, and food safety is a task that has required a lot of research by the industries to ensure public health. However, it is of the utmost importance that producers, who are the first link in the chain of production, commit themselves, as it is proven that the reduction of pathogens in the field contributes significantly to reducing the risk of foodborne diseases due to bacterial contamination.
ImmunoWall® supplementation ensures that birds maintain the balance of the intestinal microbiota and improve immune system responses, resulting in decreased contamination and transmission of pathogenic bacteria to other organs of the body.

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