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Accumulated lines of evidence indicate that inactivated probiotics could have beneficial effects similar to those of live probiotics. Two strains of disrupted, cobalt-enriched, lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus casei) and a disrupted fungal mycelium (Scytalidium acidophilum) were spray-mixed onto a mash basal feed, in 2 concentrations, prior to pelleting. The effects of these probiotics on production performance and immune response in broiler chickens were investigated. The production parameters, including BW, feed intake (FI), BW gain (BWG), and feed conversion ratio (FCR), were monitored weekly during a 6-wk trial. The immune response was evaluated by immunizing the birds with the antigen keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) followed by a serological assay to measure blood IgA and IgG titers. Some of the production parameters were significantly improved by low L. casei (LCL; for BW and BWG), high L. acidophilus (LAH; for BW and BWG), and high fungal (FH; for BW, BWG, and FI) in comparison with the nonadditive control (NC-). However, these 3 treatments (LCL, LAH, and FH) did not enhance the measured immune responses. Instead, the titers of serum KLH-specific IgA in high L. casei (LCH) and low L. acidophilus (LAL) were significantly higher than those of NC-, 10 d after immunization. None of the probiotic treatments increased the titer of KLH-specific IgG in blood. Our results indicate that disrupted and cobalt-enriched L. acidophilus or L. casei was able to enhance production performance of broiler chickens. The fungal mycelium, S. acidophilum, when used at a high concentration, also demonstrated its potential for the first time to be used as a probiotic. In addition, the optimal concentration for administering probiotics is strain dependent. A higher dose does not always result in a better performance.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Lactobacillus acidophilus MAK32L61AImproved Average Daily Feed IntakeBeneficial
Lactobacillus acidophilus MAK32L61AImproved Serum KLH-specific IgA LevelsBeneficial
Lactobacillus acidophilus MAK32L61AReduced Body Weight GainBeneficial

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