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Probiotics are a substitute for antibiotics in the sense of intestinal health maintenance. Clostridium butyricum and Bacillus subtilis, as probiotic bacteria, have been widely used in animal production. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of the two probiotic bacteria in geese. A total of 288 1-day old, healthy Yangzhou geese were randomly assigned into 4 groups (A, B, C and D) with 6 replicates of 12 birds each. Group A, as control, was fed a basal diet, and the treatment groups (B, C and D) were fed the basal diet supplemented with 250 mg/kg Clostridium butyricum (the viable count was 3.0 × 106 CFU/g), 250 mg/kg Bacillus subtilis (the viable count was 2.0 × 107 CFU/g), or a combination of the two probiotic bacteria for 70 days, respectively. The results indicated that: compared with the control group, dietary probiotics (1) promoted the growth and feed intake of the geese, (2) increased the absolute weight of duodenum, (3) increased the antioxidative capacity (total antioxidative capacity (T-AOC), total superoxide dismutase (T-SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-PX)) of intestinal mucosa, (4) improved intestinal morphology (the ratio of villus height to crypt depth), (5) but did not induce inflammation and changes of tight junction in the intestine, which was indicated by no induction of pro/inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6IL-10, TNFAIP3) and tight junction related genes (TJP1 and OCLN). Moreover, dietary probiotics increased the relative abundances of Firmicutes phylum and Lactobacillus genus and decreased the relative abundances of Proteobacteria phylum or Ralstonia genus in the intestinal content. In addition, the alpha diversity (observed species, Chao1, and estimate the number of OTUs in the community(ACE)) was reduced and the predicted functions of intestinal microflora, including peptidases, carbon fixation and metabolic function of starch and sugar, were enhanced by dietary probiotics. In conclusion, dietary probiotics promote the growth of geese by their positive effects on intestinal structure and function, the composition and functions of gut microflora, and intestinal antioxidative capacity.

Keywords: Bacillus subtilis; Clostridium butyricum; geese; gut microbiota; production performance.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Clostridium butyricumAbsence of Pathological InflammationNeutral
Clostridium butyricumEnhanced Microbial Metabolic ActivityBeneficial
Clostridium butyricumImproved Antioxidative CapacityBeneficial
Clostridium butyricumImproved Intestinal MorphologyBeneficial
Clostridium butyricumIncreased Beneficial Gut MicrobiotaBeneficial
Clostridium butyricumIncreased Duodenal WeightBeneficial
Clostridium butyricumReduced Gut Microbiota Alpha DiversityNeutral

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