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Evaluation of digestive microbial ecology is necessary to understand effects of growth-promoting feed. In the current study, the dynamics of intestinal microbial communities (MC) were examined in broilers fed diets supplemented with a combination of antibiotic (bacitracin methylene disalicylate) and ionophore (Coban 60), and diets containing 1 of 2 essential oil (EO) blends, Crina Poultry (CP) and Crina Alternate (CA). Five treatments were analyzed: 1) unmedicated uninfected control; 2) unmedicated infected control; 3) feed additives monensin (bacitracin methylene disalicylate) + monensin (Coban 60; AI); 4) EO blend CP; and 5) EO blend CA. Additives were mixed into a basal feed mixture, and EO were adjusted to 100 ppm. Chicks were infected by oral gavage at 19 d of age with Eimeria acervulina, Eimeria maxima, and Eimeria tenella. Duodenal, ileal, and cecal samples were taken from 12 birds per treatment just before and 7 d after challenge; 2 samples each were pooled to give a final number of 6 samples total; and all pooled samples were frozen until used for DNA extraction. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis was used to examine PCR-amplified fragments of the bacterial 16S ribosomal DNA variable region. Results are presented as percentages of similarity coefficients (SC). Dendrograms of PCR amplicon or band patterns indicated MC differences due to intestinal location, feed additives, and cocci challenge. Essential oil blends CP and CA affected MC in all gut sections. Each EO had different effects over MC, and they differed in most instances from the AI group. The cocci challenge caused drastic MC population shifts in duodenal, ileal, and cecal sections (36.7, 55.4, and 36.2% SC, respectively). Diets supplemented with CP supported higher SC between pre- and postchallenge MC (89.9, 83.3, and 76.4%) than AI (81.8., 57.4, and 60.0%). We concluded that mixed coccidia challenge caused drastic shifts in MC. These EO blends modulated MC better than AI, avoiding drastic shifts after a mixed challenge.


Hume, M. E., Clemente-Hernandez, S., & Oviedo-Rondon, E. O. (2006). Effects of Feed Additives and Mixed Eimeria Species Infection on Intestinal Microbial Ecology of Broilers. Poultry Science, 85(12), 2106–2111.




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