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Coccidiosis, Enzymes and Nutrient on Gut Health

Coccidiosis, Enzymes and Nutrient Availability: Effects on Gut Health

Published: September 1, 2011
By: Marco Quiroz, Chris Knight, JJ Dibner, Andres Montoya (Novus International, Inc.)

The purpose of the research described here is to examine the relationship between coccidial cycling and dysbacteriosis involving Clostridium perfringens (Cp) in broiler chickens with the goal of identifying nutrition guidelines and feed additives that reduce the incidence of Cp overgrowth in the distal ileum of broiler chicks. The studies were designed to test whether diet and dietary additives also play a role in Cp overgrowth. To study the role of diet in the development of dysbacteriosis, a model has been developed that does not include a Cp challenge. Rather, the model uses a high viscosity diet that has been associated with Cp dysbacteriosis (Bedford & Classen, 1992). Using this model, a series of experiments was conducted to study factors that can contribute to or mitigate the effects of subclinical enteritis. In a proof of principle experiment broilers were fed a 22% CP, 1.21%/1.07% total/digestible lysine mash diet was fed that contained 33% rye, 25% wheat, and 31% soybean meal. A 3X overdose of a live oocyst vaccine and an antibiotic or an NSP enzyme mixture were compared to unchallenged and/or untreated controls. Results indicated that diet played a significant role in Cp growth while coccidiosis challenge had no significant effect. This model is being used to test novel feed additives. Determining the dietary and enteric conditions that precede clinical NE are essential in the development of dietary and feed solutions for sustainable drug free agriculture.
Key Words: Necrotic enteritis, Coccidiosis, Vaccination Dysbacteriosis.

Poor gut health in broiler chickens is a generalized term that means different things to different people (Truscott & Al-Sheikhly, 1977; Tierlynck et al., 2009). Problems associated with shifts of intestinal bacterial populations (i.e. dysbacteriosis) gained notoriety as a key production issue with the removal of antibiotic growth promoters in the European Union (Hoerr, 1998; Lee, 2002). However, it remains a common challenge in any production environment where chickens are produced on litter. The most common external symptoms of this malady include diarrhea; wet, watery or poorly formed feces that under more severe circumstances may be yellow in color with a foamy appearance (Wilson, 2005). When combined with undigested feed particles some describe this as 'feed passage' or 'flushing' (Collier et al., 2003; Dibner et al., 2009). All of these presentations will typically lead to wet litter and increased mortality along with a wide variety of other secondary problems including necrotic enteritis (NE) and gangrenous dermatitis; pododermatitis and synovitis, reduced flock and carcass uniformity and higher rates of field and plant condemnations (Prescott et al., 1978).
Systematic study of poor gut health associated with dysbacteriosis is complicated by the fact that a variety of interacting factors contribute to its etiology. In many cases the initiating factors may be mild parasitic infection, exogenous pathogens or toxins. The host response to these insults contributes significantly to the course of the problem and the ultimate impact on flock performance; however, there are seldom clear clinical manifestations associated with it. Therefore, the term that has been used to describe this form of poor gut health is subclinical enteritis (Hoerr, 1998; McQuard, 1998). The purpose of the current report is to describe a reproducible model that provides a means of creating subclinical enteritis such that the interacting factors that contribute to and mitigate this syndrome can be systematically studied.
Materials & Methods
A series of experiments was conducted to validate this model as a means of studying factors that can contribute to or mitigate the effects of subclinical enteritis. In the first proof of principle experiment a 28-day broiler trial was conducted in which a 22% CP, 1.21%/1.07% total/digestible lysine mash diet was fed that contained 33% rye, 25% wheat, and 31% soybean meal. Treatments were in a 2 X 3 factorial arrangement that included two factors of cycling Eimeria as a 3X overdose of a 3-species live oocyst vaccine (ADVENT® coccidiosis control) or nothing, and 3 feed additive factors: a negative control, an antibiotic (bacitracin methylene disalicyclate, 60 ppm:BMD) or an NSP enzyme mixture containing xylanase, glucanase and glycosidase (CIBENZATM CSM).
Results & Discussion
The overdose of coccidiosis vaccine in this high viscosity diet resulted in a 4-5% reduction (P<.01) in the efficiency of gain, however, there were no interactions with any of the feed additive effects. Therefore, results are presented as main effects averaged across coccidiosis challenge. Addition of the feed additives improved 28-day Performance Index ((period gain*period livability)/period feed efficiency), PI) from 145 for control to 188 and 284 for antibiotic and NSP enzymes, respectively (P<.01). The PI improvement was more consistent for NSP than that of the antibiotic and was also associated with a significant reduction in digesta viscosity (P<.01) throughout the trial. NSP enzymes were also associated with a 1.5 to 2.5 log reduction in cultured Cp from the hind gut and lower ileum (P<.01), consistent with a previous report (Choct et al., 2006), however, the antibiotic did not have a significant effect on Cp number. Overall livability for the trial was in excess of 95%, there were no treatment related differences and no Clostridium-related deaths.
Intestinal morphometry at day 15 and 22 of the study was used to assess intestinal health with respect to the various treatments employed in the trial. Overdose of the coccidiosis vaccine affected intestinal morphometry negatively, showing significantly reduced mucosa development, villus height and higher (poorer) crypt/villus ratios in the duodenum and mid-small intestine at both 15 and 22 days compared to non-challenged controls. These negative effects, which are consistent with local inflammatory responses, were more pronounced in the mid-small intestine for challenged birds in the absence of NSP enzymes on day 15 however, ileal morphometry was not significantly affected at either day 15 or 22 by any additives or coccidial challenge. Addition of the NSP enzymes improved intestinal morphometry (duodenum and mid-small intestine) as represented by reduced crypt/villus ratio, indicating that at least a portion of the improved performance was related to improved gut health and reduced demands on the crypt stem cell proliferation.
These results indicate that subjecting broilers to this challenge of dietary NSP-containing ingredients created intestinal inflammation and stimulated Cp growth in the lower GIT. Furthermore, addition of NSP enzymes and to a lesser extent an antibiotic improved performance while the NSP enzymes mitigated intestinal inflammation and reduced Cp overgrowth.
In the second trial the diet was modified to assess the impact of an animal protein source that was less well digested than soybean meal when fed from 1 to 21 days of age. Previous studies have reported that the level of fishmeal but not soy protein concentrate significantly increased the growth of Cp in the ileum and cecum of the chicken (Drew et al., 2004). For this trial we added 7% feather meal in a complete diet formulated to 23.5% CP and 1.38%/1.21% total/digestible lysine. All birds were challenged with a 3X overdose of the same live oocyst coccidiosis vaccine at day of age and feed additive treatments were arranged as a 2 X 2 X 2 factorial design; with and without betaine, NSP enzymes (Cibenza CSM), a protease enzyme (Cibenza DP100) and with a combination of the two types of enzymes. Betaine has been reported to improve osmotic balance and performance in the face of coccidial challenge (Allen & Fetterer, 2002) and to improve the efficiency of the innate immune response (Klasing et al., 2002).
Performance index was improved by addition of NSP enzymes (P<.01) which was modestly more effective in the presence of the osmolyte, betaine (Bet X CSM = .037). There was only a modest PI improvement with addition of the protease by itself that was not observed in the presence of betaine (Bet X DP100 = 0.049), primarily due to a PI improvement of the negative control in the presence of betaine. The addition of protease to the NSP enzymes did not result in a further PI improvement.
Digestive viscosity was reduced the most by NSP enzymes (P<.01), however, the protease reduced viscosity in the presence of betaine (Bet X DP100 < .05). Again, addition of NSP enzymes reduced Cp across other treatments by 1.5 to 2 logs (P<.01) from samples obtained only from the lower ileum. The acute phase protein, AGP was measured in serum as an indicator of intestinal barrier function. This protein is indicative of a systemic immune response, consequently elevated AGP would suggest some level of barrier function failure. The results indicated that both protease and NSP enzymes reduced AGP levels similarly in the presence of betaine and that the combination of the two types of enzymes was additive (P<.05). This suggests that in the presence of an osmolyte, both types of enzymes have some positive impact on intestinal barrier function in this subclinical enteritis model. However, while the addition of NSP enzymes to this diet reduced ileal concentrations of Cp, there was no evidence that addition of the protease in this high feather meal diet had any similar inhibitory impact on Cp growth. It is possible that the high viscosity associated with the NSP diet prevented appropriate interaction of the protease with its substrate.
To further examine the impact of dietary protein on ileal Cp and intestinal barrier function we used two diets, one with no animal protein and formulated to 22% CP and 1.38%/1.21% total/digestible lysine, the second diet was nearly identical to the first with the exception that it contained 14% poultry by-product meal (PBM) and was formulated to provide an excess of CP (30%) and total/digestible lysine (1.65%/1.38). We were concerned that the high level of rye (38%) in Trial 2 may have overridden any potential effect of the protease as a result of the very high viscosity of the diet. Therefore, in Trial 3 the level of rye in the diet was reduced from 38% to 20% with corn added to make up the energy difference. Again all birds were subjected to an overdose of the same live oocyst coccidiosis vaccine with the exception that this occurred on day 7 of the study instead of day 1.
The 28-day results indicated a reduction in PI with the 30% protein PBM diet that was increased to that of the normal protein diets with the addition of protease. While these results were not significant, they are directionally consistent with the potential for excess protein in the hindgut to have a promoting influence on bacterial overgrowth and consequently a negative influence on performance. Ileal concentrations of Cp were substantially lower in the normal protein diet than was observed for Trial 2 (~2.4 log vs. ~5.0 logs) which is likely due to the reduction in rye content of the diet in this trial. The ileal Cp levels for the 30% CP PBM diet were increased approximately 2 log units compared to the normal protein diet (P<.01). Addition of the protease to the normal protein diet had no impact on ileal Cp levels however, protease addition to the high protein diet resulted in a 2 log reduction in Cp to levels that were similar to the normal protein diet. Similar to results observed in Trial 2, addition of protease in this trial resulted in reductions of serum AGP levels (P<.10) regardless of dietary protein level. These results indicate that minimizing flow of digestible animal protein into the hindgut in the face of subclinical enteritis will reduce Cp levels whether this is done by with lower dietary protein or the addition of a protease to increase digestibility in the upper GIT thereby minimizing protein flow to the hindgut. Furthermore, addition of the protease in this gut health challenge model improved intestinal barrier function as measured by acute phase protein response, irrespective of dietary protein level.
The purpose of these three trials was to evaluate the validity of a gut health challenge model that was designed to produce subclinical enteritis in young broiler chickens. If successful, this would provide a system that would facilitate the study of the many interacting factors that contribute to this widespread and often unpredictable problem. The theoretical framework for this model is predicated on the concept that 1) intestinal inflammation and oxidative stress, 2) digestive failure, with 3) increased nutrient flow to the hindgut, and 4) intestinal barrier failure are all involved to some degree in a gut health challenge. Results have shown that each of these 4 factors is influenced by this model and the lack of significant mortality is consistent the subclinical gut health challenge model we intended to create.
These studies focused primarily on the influence of increased nutrient flow to the hindgut on the stimulation of Cp growth and demonstrated the role that substrate specific digestive enzymes play in minimizing Cp growth and supporting maintenance of a healthy gut. We have also observed that while Cp is a reproducible marker of intestinal overgrowth of a potential pathogen, there is no need to challenge the birds with exogenous Cp in order produce these effects. In fact, it's possible that this approach more closely mimics what occurs in the field. This model system will be used in the future to evaluate additional factors that can support the maintenance of intestinal barrier function, modulate the intestinal inflammatory response and resulting oxidative stress, and promote the maintenance of the appropriate microbiota in the hindgut of the chicken.
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Andres Montoya
MSD - Merck Animal Health
Mahmood Ali Tabassum
5 de febrero de 2013

Nice information, Cibenza DP have very good results in high protein with low quality animal protein sources.

Abdul Qayyum
1 de febrero de 2013

In this topic very good informations are present for enzyme supplementations in brolier gut health.

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