Source: UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA submitted to
EARLY CHICK NUTRITION
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
TERMINATED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0202685
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
GEO00550
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Feb 1, 2005
Project End Date
Feb 1, 2010
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
Batal, A. B.
Recipient Organization
UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA
200 D.W. BROOKS DR
ATHENS,GA 30602-5016
Performing Department
POULTRY SCIENCE
Non Technical Summary
The first week after hatch is the most critical period of a broiler chicks life. The newly hatched chick is susceptible to environmental and health challenges due to a not yet fully developed digestive, thermoregulatory and immune system. The purpose of this study is to determine how nutrition during the first 7 days of the chicks life influences gut development and immunity.
Animal Health Component
50%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
25%
Applied
50%
Developmental
25%
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
3023220101070%
3113220101020%
3153220101010%
Goals / Objectives
1. To establish nutrient requirements of broiler chickens during the first 7 days posthatching (and observe how the nutrient requirements affect gut development). 2. To examine age related changes in digestion of common ingredients used in broiler diets and to develop prediction equations to adjust metabolizable energy, amino acid digestibility, etc. based on chick age (with emphasis placed on the first 7 to 14 days of age). 3. To determine the effects of nutrients on the development of the gastrointestinal tract, nutrient utilization, and gut immunity of chicks posthatching. 4. To determine the effects of various pre-starter diets (diets fed for the first 3 to 6 days posthatching) on the development of the gastrointestinal tract, nutrient utilization, gut immunity and resistance to pathogen exposure.
Project Methods
When a chick emerges from its shell, its main nutrient source is the portion of the yolk not utilized during incubation. The yolk is absorbed rapidly during the first week of the chicks life and is completely absorbed by 4 to 6 days of age (Romanoff, 1944). To support potential growth chicks must rapidly acquire the ability to assimilate externally derived nutrients, which can be a challenge for the very young chick because of a relatively immature gastrointestinal tract (GIT) (Moran, 1985). The immature GIT limits the chicks ability to digest, absorb, and transport nutrients from the diet (Sell, 1996; Batal and Parsons, 2002). The GIT is the major barrier to external environmental contaminants and is exposed to more noxious stimuli than any other tissue in the body. The implications of an immature GIT and immune system leave the chick more susceptible to certain enteric disorders and other disease problems associated with exposure to pathogens. Growth of chicks posthatching has been speculated to be directly proportional to the early development of the GIT (Pinchasov and Noy, 1993; Uni et al.,1998). In addition, the birds ability to achieve its genetic growth potential is influenced by immune functions (Dibner et al., 1998). The first few days of adjustment after hatching has become crucial since the growth rate of broiler chicks has substantially increased during the last few decades and represents a greater proportion of the broiler chicks life span. The importance of understanding gut function during the first week posthatching is significant. As the growing period of broilers continues to shorten, early nutritional management of the chick will become increasingly critical.

Progress 02/01/05 to 02/01/10

Outputs
OUTPUTS: Overall, weight gain and feed efficiency improved significantly when chicks were fed diets supplemented with 1% glutamine, regardless of vaccination or Coccidiosis challenge. Birds that were challenged with Coccidiosis and fed diets supplemented with 1% Glutamine performed better than the challenged control birds and performed the same as the non-challenged control birds. The chicks fed diets supplemented with 1% Glutamine had lower lesion scores and less incidences of necrotic enteritis and higher antibody responses to sheep red blood cells (antigen). Chicks fed diets supplemented with 1% glutamine had higher concentrations of bile, intestinal, and sera IgA and sera IgG and IgM and IFN-gamma. Chicks fed diets with 1% glutamine had heavier intestinal relative weights and longer intestinal villi. The results of this experiment give insights into a potential dietary method to modulate chicken immune responses toward improving chicken performance. Modification of antibody production and activity by dietary glutamine supplementation may provide an avenue to strengthen chick immunity and protection against various pathogens. Birds fed diets supplemented with Glutamine may have had better gut barrier function along with enhanced immune responses during the Coccidiosis challenge. The presence of intestinal symbionts induces the development of a mature intestinal tract and affects the structure of the bacterial community by affecting the development of intestinal colonization niches. We are currently studying how the presence of intestinal bacteria effect the development of the chickens gastrointestinal tract so that we can identify the mechanisms involved in the interaction between the bacterial intestinal communities and intestinal health. The effect of gender impacting growth, carcass yield and nutritional requirements of chickens has been well documented, but little is known about how the sex of a chicken impacts the bacterial population of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Therefore, our objective was to evaluate the biodiversity of the bacterial community in the GIT of male and female broilers. At 3, 7, 14, and 21 d of age, chicks were randomly selected and ileums were taken for bacterial sampling. Bacterial DNA was isolated from the digesta of the ileum, and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) was used to examine PCR amplified fragments of 16s ribosomal DNA. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analyses revealed that the bacterial communities separated into two gender-specific groups, with less than 30% similarity between populations. Furthermore, as the birds aged, the similarity of the intestinal bacterial community decreased within each gender. Although ileal bacterial population differences within and between genders were noted as early as d 3, growth-rate differences between males and females were not noted until d 21 (data not shown). This suggested that non-growth-related factors influenced the composition of intestinal bacterial communities. PARTICIPANTS: Not relevant to this project. TARGET AUDIENCES: Not relevant to this project. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Not relevant to this project.

Impacts
Based on the primarily results it is clear that the opportunity exists for nutritional manipulation of the digestive capability and immune system of broilers during the first few days after hatching. The enhancement in digestive capability and immune function can be achieved through glutamine, nucleotide, butyrate (VFA) supplementation of the diet or through the use of a pre-starter diet. Enhancement of the gastrointestinal tract and the immune function by a day or two could markedly improve feed efficiency and bird health. Specific nutrients may alter the mucosal immune function influencing the interaction between pathogens and the mucosal, preventing bacterial translocation and improving the health of the bird. Little is know about how the presence of different intestinal bacterial community compositions affect the development of the gastrointestinal tract in chickens. It is essential that we understand this relationship so that we can identify the mechanisms involved in maintaining intestinal health. This is especially crucial today as the use of growth-promoting antibiotics in poultry production is being questioned and may be prohibited, thus other methods to modulate the intestinal microbiota will be needed. The ability to determine the normal microflora population present at a specific stage of gastrointestinal tract development would provide critical information to animal health companies and would allow for the proper drug treatment when poultry flocks are faced with intestinal pathogens without negatively impacting the birds normal microflora.

Publications

  • Jung, B. Y and A.B. Batal. 2009. The nutrient digestibility of high protein distillers dried grains and the effect of feeding various levels on the performance of laying hens. J. Appl. Poult. Res. 18:741-751.
  • Lumpkins, B. S., A. B. Batal, and M. D. Lee. 2010. Evaluation of microbiota and intestinal development of different genetic lines of chickens. Poult. Sci. 89:(accepted).
  • Jung, B. Y., P. D. Sedlacek, A.B. Batal and L. R. Prewitt. 2008. Evaluation of distillers dried grains as a feed ingredient for broilers. Poult. Sci. 87(Suppl. 1):137(M18).


Progress 01/01/08 to 12/31/08

Outputs
OUTPUTS: Weight gain and feed efficiency improved significantly when chicks were fed diets supplemented with 1% glutamine, regardless of vaccination or Coccidiosis challenge. Birds that were challenged with Coccidiosis and fed diets supplemented with 1% Glutamine performed better than the challenged control birds and performed the same as the non-challenged control birds. The chicks fed diets supplemented with 1% Glutamine had lower lesion scores and less incidences of necrotic enteritis and higher antibody responses to sheep red blood cells (antigen). Chicks fed diets supplemented with 1% glutamine had higher concentrations of bile, intestinal, and sera IgA and sera IgG and IgM and IFN-gamma. Chicks fed diets with 1% glutamine had heavier intestinal relative weights and longer intestinal villi. The results of this experiment give insights into a potential dietary method to modulate chicken immune responses toward improving chicken performance. Modification of antibody production and activity by dietary glutamine supplementation may provide an avenue to strengthen chick immunity and protection against various pathogens. Birds fed diets supplemented with Glutamine may have had better gut barrier function along with enhanced immune responses during the Coccidiosis challenge. Therefore, 1% dietary Glutamine supplementation may improve growth performance due to the improvements observed in intestinal development and increases in humoral and cell-mediated responses, even when presented with a Coccidiosis vaccination and/or challenge. The effect of gender impacting growth, carcass yield and nutritional requirements of chickens has been well documented, but little is known about how the sex of a chicken impacts the bacterial population of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Therefore, our objective was to evaluate the biodiversity of the bacterial community in the GIT of male and female broilers. An experiment was conducted with Cobb 500 broiler chicks that were vent sexed at 0 d of age and allocated to 8 pens of 25 chicks per gender. All birds were fed a non-medicated corn soybean meal starter diet from 0 to 21 d of age. At 3, 7, 14, and 21 d of age, chicks were randomly selected and ileums were taken for bacterial sampling. Bacterial DNA was isolated from the digesta of the ileum, and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) was used to examine PCR amplified fragments of 16s ribosomal DNA. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analyses revealed that the bacterial communities separated into two gender-specific groups, with less than 30% similarity between populations. Furthermore, as the birds aged, the similarity of the intestinal bacterial community decreased within each gender. Although ileal bacterial population differences within and between genders were noted as early as d 3, growth-rate differences between males and females were not noted until d 21 (data not shown). This suggested that non-growth-related factors influenced the composition of intestinal bacterial communities. PARTICIPANTS: Not relevant to this project. TARGET AUDIENCES: Nutritionist PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Not relevant to this project.

Impacts
Based on the primarily results it is clear that the opportunity exists for nutritional manipulation of the digestive capability and immune system of broilers during the first few days after hatching. The enhancement in digestive capability and immune function can be achieved through glutamine, nucleotide, butyrate (VFA) supplementation of the diet or through the use of a pre-starter diet. Enhancement of the gastrointestinal tract and the immune function by a day or two could markedly improve feed efficiency and bird health. Specific nutrients may alter the mucosal immune function influencing the interaction between pathogens and the mucosal, preventing bacterial translocation and improving the health of the bird. Little is know about how the presence of different intestinal bacterial community compositions affect the development of the gastrointestinal tract in chickens. It is essential that we understand this relationship so that we can identify the mechanisms involved in maintaining intestinal health. This is especially crucial today as the use of growth-promoting antibiotics in poultry production is being questioned and may be prohibited, thus other methods to modulate the intestinal microbiota will be needed. The ability to determine the normal microflora population present at a specific stage of gastrointestinal tract development would provide critical information to animal health companies and would allow for the proper drug treatment when poultry flocks are faced with intestinal pathogens without negatively impacting the birds normal microflora.

Publications

  • Lumpkins, B. S., A. B. Batal, and M. D. Lee. 2008. The effect of gender on intestinal development and the microbiota community of broilers. Poult. Sci. 87:964-967.
  • Abstracts Sedlacek, P, D., A.B. Batal, A. Jones. 2008. Evaluation of the feeding value of glycerin for poultry. Poult. Sci. 87(Suppl. 1):138(M21).
  • Jung, B. Y., P. D. Sedlacek, A.B. Batal and L. R. Prewitt. 2008. Evaluation of distiller's dried grains as a feed ingredient for broilers. Poult. Sci. 87(Suppl. 1):137(M18).
  • Jung, B. Y., P. D. Sedlacek, and A.B. Batal. 2008. Effect of high-protein distillers dried grains at various levels on performance of laying hens. Poult. Sci. 87(Suppl. 1):28(88).


Progress 01/01/07 to 12/31/07

Outputs
OUTPUTS: Overall, weight gain and feed efficiency improved significantly when chicks were fed diets supplemented with 1% glutamine, regardless of vaccination or Coccidiosis challenge. Birds that were challenged with Coccidiosis and fed diets supplemented with 1% Glutamine performed better than the challenged control birds and performed the same as the non-challenged control birds. The chicks fed diets supplemented with 1% Glutamine had lower lesion scores and less incidences of necrotic enteritis and higher antibody responses to sheep red blood cells (antigen). Chicks fed diets supplemented with 1% glutamine had higher concentrations of bile, intestinal, and sera IgA and sera IgG and IgM and IFN-gamma. Chicks fed diets with 1% glutamine had heavier intestinal relative weights and longer intestinal villi. The results of this experiment give insights into a potential dietary method to modulate chicken immune responses toward improving chicken performance. Modification of antibody production and activity by dietary glutamine supplementation may provide an avenue to strengthen chick immunity and protection against various pathogens. Birds fed diets supplemented with Glutamine may have had better gut barrier function along with enhanced immune responses during the Coccidiosis challenge. Therefore, 1% dietary Glutamine supplementation may improve growth performance due to the improvements observed in intestinal development and increases in humoral and cell-mediated responses, even when presented with a Coccidiosis vaccination and/or challenge. The effect of gender impacting growth, carcass yield and nutritional requirements of chickens has been well documented, but little is known about how the sex of a chicken impacts the bacterial population of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Therefore, our objective was to evaluate the biodiversity of the bacterial community in the GIT of male and female broilers. An experiment was conducted with Cobb 500 broiler chicks that were vent sexed at 0 d of age and allocated to 8 pens of 25 chicks per gender. All birds were fed a non-medicated corn soybean meal starter diet from 0 to 21 d of age. At 3, 7, 14, and 21 d of age, chicks were randomly selected and ileums were taken for bacterial sampling. Bacterial DNA was isolated from the digesta of the ileum, and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) was used to examine PCR amplified fragments of 16s ribosomal DNA. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analyses revealed that the bacterial communities separated into two gender-specific groups, with less than 30% similarity between populations. Furthermore, as the birds aged, the similarity of the intestinal bacterial community decreased within each gender. Although ileal bacterial population differences within and between genders were noted as early as d 3, growth-rate differences between males and females were not noted until d 21 (data not shown). This suggested that non-growth-related factors influenced the composition of intestinal bacterial communities. PARTICIPANTS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period. TARGET AUDIENCES: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

Impacts
Based on the primarily results it is clear that the opportunity exists for nutritional manipulation of the digestive capability and immune system of broilers during the first few days after hatching. The enhancement in digestive capability and immune function can be achieved through glutamine supplementation of the diet or through the use of a pre-starter diet. Enhancement of the gastrointestinal tract and the immune function by a day or two could markedly improve feed efficiency and bird health. Specific nutrients (glutamine) may alter the mucosal immune function influencing the interaction between pathogens and the mucosal, preventing bacterial translocation and improving the health of the bird. Little is know about how the presence of different intestinal bacterial community compositions affect the development of the gastrointestinal tract in chickens. It is essential that we understand this relationship so that we can identify the mechanisms involved in maintaining intestinal health. This is especially crucial today as the use of growth-promoting antibiotics in poultry production is being questioned and may be prohibited, thus other methods to modulate the intestinal microbiota will be needed. The ability to determine the normal microflora population present at a specific stage of gastrointestinal tract development would provide critical information to animal health companies and would allow for the proper drug treatment when poultry flocks are faced with intestinal pathogens without negatively impacting the birds normal microflora.

Publications

  • Bartell, S. M. and A. B. Batal. 2004. The effect of glutamine on growth performance and the development of the gastrointestinal tract and immune system of broilers. Poult. Sci. 83(Suppl. 1):265.
  • Garcia, A. R., T. D. Troutman, and A. B. Batal. 2004. Changes in the digestible lysine and sulfur amino acid needs of broiler chicks during the first 21 days posthatching. Poult. Sci. 83(Suppl. 1):266.
  • Garcia, A. R., A. B. Batal, N. M. Dale, and M. B. Caf. 2005. Evaluation of pearl millet as a grain source for prestarter and starter broiler diets. Poult. Sci. 84(Suppl. 1):96.
  • Garcia, A. R., A. B. Batal, and N. M. Dale. 2005. Phosphorus bioavailability of two phosphorus sources for broiler prestarter diets. Poult. Sci. 84(Suppl. 1):88.
  • Bartell, S. M. and A. B. Batal. 2005. The effect of glutamine manufacturing on growth performance and the development of the immune system of broilers. Poult. Sci. 84(Suppl. 1):41.
  • Garcia, A. R. and A. B. Batal. 2005. Changes in the digestible lysine and sulfur amino acid needs of broiler chicks during the first 21 days posthatching. Poult. Sci. 84:1350-1355.
  • Garcia, A. R., A. B. Batal, and D. H. Baker. 2006. Variations in the digestible lysine requirement of broilers due to sex, performance parameters and rearing environment. Poult. Sci. 85:498-504.
  • Garcia, A. R, A. B. Batal, and N. M. Dale. 2006. Biological availability of phosphorus sources in pre-starter and starter diets for broiler chicks. J. Appl. Poult. Res. 15:518-524.
  • Garcia, A. R., A. B. Batal, and N. M. Dale. 2007. A comparison of methods to determine amino acid digestibility of feed ingredients for chickens. Poult. Sci. 86:94-101.
  • Lumpkins, B. S., A. B. Batal, and D. H. Baker. 2007. Variations in the digestible sulfur amino acid requirement of broilers due to sex, growth criteria, rearing environment and processing yield characteristics. Poult. Sci. 86:325-330.
  • Lumpkins, B. S., A. B. Batal, and M. D. Lee. 2008. The effect of gender on intestinal development and the microbiota community of broilers. Poult. Sci. 87:964-967.
  • Bartell, S. M. and A. B. Batal. 2005. The effect of supplemental glutamine on growth performance and immune response of broilers vaccinated and challenged with Eimeria acervulina and Eimeria maxima. Poult. Sci. 84(Suppl. 1):40.
  • Lumpkins, B. S., A. B. Batal, and M. D. Lee. 2006. Changes in the microbiota populations and gastrointestinal tract development of the jejunum and ileum. Poult. Sci. 85 (Suppl. 1):96.
  • Lumpkins, B.S., A.B. Batal, and M.D. Lee. 2007. Evaluation of microbiota populations and intestinal development of different genetic lines of chickens Poult. Sci. 86(Suppl. 1):215.


Progress 01/01/06 to 12/31/06

Outputs
The estimated digestible lysine and digestible sulfur amino acid requirements do not change significantly during the first 21 days of age and do not appear to be higher at 7 days than at 21 days of age. Consequently, the digestible lysine and digestible sulfur amino acid recommendations determined in studies conducted with chickens from 7 to 21 days of age appear to be adequate for chicks from 0 to 7 days of age. Pearl millet proved to be a valuable alternative grain for pre-starter diets for broilers, possibly superior to corn and grain sorghum. However, it remains unclear as to why this effect was observed, as it was not related to a decrease in intestinal viscosity, proliferation of beneficial bacteria, more rapid yolk sac absorption or increased gizzard activity during the first week of life. During the first week post-hatching there was no difference in the phosphorus bioavailability of tricalcium defluorinate phosphate and dicaclcium phosphate and thus tricalcium defluorinated phosphate can be used in the pre-starter diet of broiler chicks. Overall, weight gain and feed efficiency improved significantly when chicks were fed diets supplemented with 1% glutamine, regardless of vaccination or Coccidiosis challenge. Birds that were challenged with Coccidiosis and fed diets supplemented with 1% Glutamine performed better than the challenged control birds and performed the same as the non-challenged control birds. The chicks fed diets supplemented with 1% Glutamine had lower lesion scores and less incidences of necrotic enteritis and higher antibody responses to sheep red blood cells (antigen). Chicks fed diets supplemented with 1% glutamine had higher concentrations of bile, intestinal, and sera IgA and sera IgG and IgM and IFN-gamma. Chicks fed diets with 1% glutamine had heavier intestinal relative weights and longer intestinal villi. The results of this experiment give insights into a potential dietary method to modulate chicken immune responses toward improving chicken performance. Modification of antibody production and activity by dietary glutamine supplementation may provide an avenue to strengthen chick immunity and protection against various pathogens. Birds fed diets supplemented with Glutamine may have had better gut barrier function along with enhanced immune responses during the Coccidiosis challenge. Therefore, 1% dietary Glutamine supplementation may improve growth performance due to the improvements observed in intestinal development and increases in humoral and cell-mediated responses, even when presented with a Coccidiosis vaccination and/or challenge. The presence of intestinal symbionts induces the development of a mature intestinal tract and affects the structure of the bacterial community by affecting the development of intestinal colonization niches. We are currently studying how the presence of intestinal bacteria effect the development of the chickens gastrointestinal tract so that we can identify the mechanisms involved in the interaction between the bacterial intestinal communities and intestinal health.

Impacts
Based on the primarily results it is clear that the opportunity exists for nutritional manipulation of the digestive capability and immune system of broilers during the first few days after hatching. The enhancement in digestive capability and immune function can be achieved through glutamine supplementation in the diet or through the use of a pre-starter diet. Enhancement of the gastrointestinal tract and the immune function by a day or two could markedly improve feed efficiency and bird health. Specific nutrients (glutamine) may alter the mucosal immune function influencing the interaction between pathogens and the mucosal, preventing bacterial translocation and improving the health of the bird. Little is know about how the presence of different intestinal bacterial community compositions affect the development of the gastrointestinal tract in chickens. It is essential that we understand this relationship so that we can identify the mechanisms involved in maintaining intestinal health. This is especially crucial today as the use of growth-promoting antibiotics in poultry production is being questioned and may be prohibited, thus other methods to modulate the intestinal microbiota will be needed. The ability to determine the normal microflora population present at a specific stage of gastrointestinal tract development would provide critical information to animal health companies and would allow for the proper drug treatment when poultry flocks are faced with intestinal pathogens without negatively impacting the birds normal microflora.

Publications

  • Bartell, S. M. and A. B. Batal. 2007. The effect of supplemental glutamine on growth performance and development of the gastrointestinal tract and immune system. Poult. Sci. 86: (submitted).
  • Lumpkins, B. S., Y-J. Cho, A. B. Batal, and M. D. Lee. 2007. Evaluation of Novel Bacterial Species on Intestinal Development and Microflora. Poult. Sci. 86(Suppl. 1.):submitted.
  • Lee, M. D., B. S. Lumpkins, Y-J. Cho, and A. B. Batal. 2007. Effect of novel intestinal anaerobes on early development of the broiler intestine. Proceedings from the AVMA/AAAP Annual Meeting Washington, D.C., July 14-18, 2007
  • Lumpkins, B. S., A. B. Batal, and M. D. Lee. 2007. Evaluation of microbiota populations and intestinal development of different genetic lines of chickens. Poult. Sci. 86(Suppl. 1.):submitted.


Progress 01/01/05 to 12/31/05

Outputs
The estimated digestible lysine and digestible sulfur amino acid requirements do not change significantly during the first 21 days of age and do not appear to be higher at 7 days than at 21 days of age. Consequently, the digestible lysine and digestible sulfur amino acid recommendations determined in studies conducted with chickens from 7 to 21 days of age appear to be adequate for chicks from 0 to 7 days of age. Pearl millet proved to be a valuable alternative grain for pre-starter diets for broilers, possibly superior to corn and grain sorghum. However, it remains unclear as to why this effect was observed, as it was not related to a decrease in intestinal viscosity, proliferation of beneficial bacteria, more rapid yolk sac absorption or increased gizzard activity during the first week of life. During the first week post-hatching there was no difference in the phosphorus bioavailability of tricalcium defluorinate phosphate and dicaclcium phosphate and thus tricalcium defluorinated phosphate can be used in the pre-starter diet of broiler chicks. Overall, weight gain and feed efficiency improved significantly when chicks were fed diets supplemented with 1% glutamine, regardless of vaccination or Coccidiosis challenge. Birds that were challenged with Coccidiosis and fed diets supplemented with 1% Glutamine performed better than the challenged control birds and performed the same as the non-challenged control birds. The chicks fed diets supplemented with 1% Glutamine had lower lesion scores and less incidences of necrotic enteritis and higher antibody responses to sheep red blood cells (antigen). Chicks fed diets supplemented with 1% glutamine had higher concentrations of bile, intestinal, and sera IgA and sera IgG and IgM and IFN-gamma. Chicks fed diets with 1% glutamine had heavier intestinal relative weights and longer intestinal villi. The results of this experiment give insights into a potential dietary method to modulate chicken immune responses toward improving chicken performance. Modification of antibody production and activity by dietary glutamine supplementation may provide an avenue to strengthen chick immunity and protection against various pathogens. Birds fed diets supplemented with Glutamine may have had better gut barrier function along with enhanced immune responses during the Coccidiosis challenge. Therefore, 1% dietary Glutamine supplementation may improve growth performance due to the improvements observed in intestinal development and increases in humoral and cell-mediated responses, even when presented with a Coccidiosis vaccination and/or challenge. The presence of intestinal symbionts induces the development of a mature intestinal tract and affects the structure of the bacterial community by affecting the development of intestinal colonization niches. We are currently studying how the presence of intestinal bacteria effect the development of the chickens gastrointestinal tract so that we can identify the mechanisms involved in the interaction between the bacterial intestinal communities and intestinal health.

Impacts
Based on the primarily results it is clear that the opportunity exists for nutritional manipulation of the digestive capability and immune system of broilers during the first few days after hatching. The enhancement in digestive capability and immune function can be achieved through glutamine supplementation in the diet or through the use of a pre-starter diet. Enhancement of the gastrointestinal tract and the immune function by a day or two could markedly improve feed efficiency and bird health. Specific nutrients (glutamine) may alter the mucosal immune function influencing the interaction between pathogens and the mucosal, preventing bacterial translocation and improving the health of the bird. Little is know about how the presence of different intestinal bacterial community compositions affect the development of the gastrointestinal tract in chickens. It is essential that we understand this relationship so that we can identify the mechanisms involved in maintaining intestinal health. This is especially crucial today as the use of growth-promoting antibiotics in poultry production is being questioned and may be prohibited, thus other methods to modulate the intestinal microbiota will be needed. The ability to determine the normal microflora population present at a specific stage of gastrointestinal tract development would provide critical information to animal health companies and would allow for the proper drug treatment when poultry flocks are faced with intestinal pathogens without negatively impacting the birds normal microflora.

Publications

  • Bartell, S. M. and A. B. Batal, 2005. The effect of glutamine manufacturing on growth performance and the development of the immune system of broilers. Poult. Sci. 84(Suppl. 1):96.
  • Bartell, S. M. and A. B. Batal, 2005. The effect of supplemental glutamine on growth performance and immune response of broilers vaccinated and challenged with Eimeria Acerulina and Eimeria Maxima. Poult. Sci. 84(Suppl. 1):92.
  • Garcia, A. R. and A. B. Batal, 2005. Changes in the digestible lysine and sulfur amino acid needs of broiler chicks during the first 21 days posthatching. Poult. Sci.84:1350-1355.
  • Garcia, A. R, A. B. Batal, and N. M. Dale, 2006. Evaluation of pearl millet for pre-starter and starter broiler diets. J. App. Poult. Res: 15: (accepted).
  • Garcia, A. R., A. B. Batal, N. M. Dale, and M. B. Cafe, 2005. Evaluation of pearl millet as a grain source for prestarter and starter broiler diets. Poult. Sci. 84(Suppl. 1):S24.
  • Garcia, A. R., A. B. Batal, and N. M. Dale, 2005. Phosphorus bioavailability of two phosphorus sources for broiler prestarter diets. Poult. Sci. 84(Suppl. 1):229.