Substituting Probiotics for Antibiotics in Poultry

graphic showing similarity of antibiotics and probiotics' affect on the turkey microbiome

Commercial poultry farmers give low doses of antibiotics to their flocks as a method to improve health and production. In recent years, however, it has become known that antibiotic use has deleterious effects, such as the potential development of antibiotic resistance that makes it difficult to treat illnesses. Poultry researchers are searching for other means to keep flocks healthy and commercially productive.

A recent paper co-authored by several MSI PIs describes the use of probiotics as an alternative to antibiotics. The researchers tested probiotic supplements that were tailored to the turkey microbiome as well as non-tailored supplements. The turkey-tailored probiotics performed as well as antibiotic treatments, indicating that probiotic treatments that are developed for the microbiomes of a specific species of poultry could be substituted for the current antibiotic treatment. This result is significant for the poultry industry and may also have implications for humans. The researchers used bioinformatics tools available through MSI for this project.

The paper was published in the journal mBio: TL Ward, BP Weber, KM Mendoza, JL Danzelsen, K Llop, K Lang, JB Clayton, E Grace, J Brannon, I Radovic, M Beauclaire, TJ Heisel, D Knights, C Cardona, M Kogut, C Johnson, SL Noll, R Arsenault, KM Reed, TJ Johnson. 2019. Antibiotics and Host-Tailored Probiotics Similarly Modulate Effects on the Developing Avian Microbiome, Mycobiome, and Host Gene Expression. mBio 10(5). doi: 10.1128/mBio.02171-19. 

The MSI PIs who co-authored this paper include:

Image Description: Antibiotics and probiotics similarly alter the turkey microbiome. Principal-coordinate analysis of unweighted UniFrac distances of the turkey ileum (A) and cecum (B) microbiome, colored by treatment: control, antibiotic (BMD), turkey-tailored probiotic (T-Pbx), commercial probiotic (FM-B11), and prebiotic (Prebx). Differences in centroids by treatment (denoted by a diamond) were tested by PERMANOVA, with R2 and P values reported. Pairwise PERMANOVA was also performed on each treatment pair, with insignificant differences in centroids (P _ 0.05) denoted by N.S. Image and description, Ward et al., mBio 10(5). doi: 10.1128/mBio.02171-19 (2019). © American Society for Microbiology.

posted on November 20, 2019

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