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Two studies were conducted to investigate the effect of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens CECT 5940 (BA) as a probiotic on growth performance, amino acid digestibility and bacteria population in broiler chickens under a subclinical necrotic enteritis (NE) challenge and/or fed diets with different levels of crude protein (CP). Both studies consisted of a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments with 480 Ross 308 mix-sexed broiler chickens. In study 1, treatments included 1) NE challenge (+/-), and 2) BA (1.0 × 106 CFU/g of feed) supplementation (+/-). In study 2, all birds were under NE challenge, and treatments were 1) CP level (Standard/Reduced [2% less than standard]) and 2) BA (1.0 × 106 CFU/g of feed) supplementation (+/-). After inducing NE infection, blood samples were taken on d 16 for uric acid evaluation, and cecal samples were collected for bacterial enumeration. In both studies, ileal digesta was collected on d 35 for nutrient digestibility evaluation. In study 1, the NE challenge reduced body weight gain (BWG), supressed feed conversion ratio (FCR) and serum uric acid levels (P < 0.001). Supplementation of BA increased BWG (P < 0.001) and reduced FCR (P = 0.043) across dietary treatments, regardless of challenge. Bacillus (P = 0.030) and Ruminococcus (P = 0.029) genomic DNA copy numbers and concentration of butyrate (P = 0.017) were higher in birds fed the diets supplemented with BA. In study 2, reduced protein (RCP) diets decreased BWG (P = 0.010) and uric acid levels in serum (P < 0.001). Supplementation of BA improved BWG (P = 0.001) and FCR (P = 0.005) and increased Ruminococcus numbers (P = 0.018) and butyrate concentration (P = 0.033) in the ceca, regardless of dietary CP level. Further, addition of BA reduced Clostridium perfringens numbers only in birds fed with RCP diets (P = 0.039). At d 35, BA supplemented diets showed higher apparent ileal digestibility of cystine (P = 0.013), valine (P = 0.020), and lysine (P = 0.014). In conclusion, this study suggests positive effects of BA supplementation in broiler diets via modulating gut microflora and improving nutrient uptake.

Keywords: Bacillus amyloliquefaciens; Bacteria population; Growth performance; Gut function; Necrotic enteritis; Reduced protein diet.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Bacillus amyloliquefaciensImproved Feed Conversion RatioBeneficial
Bacillus amyloliquefaciensImproved Nutrient DigestibilityBeneficial
Bacillus amyloliquefaciensIncreased Body WeightBeneficial
Bacillus amyloliquefaciensIncreased Butyrate ConcentrationBeneficial
Bacillus amyloliquefaciensReduced Clostridium Perfringens NumbersBeneficial
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