Gut Check for Poultry

Paper on chickens’ intestinal health wins top award

Gut Check for Poultry

Rajesh Jha and his grad student Sudhir Yadav of the Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences were awarded the 2019 Best Paper Award by the Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology. Their winning paper, “Strategies to modulate the intestinal microbiota and their effects on nutrient utilization, performance, and health of poultry,” is also featured as one of the journal’s “Top 10 Papers in 10 Years.”

The poultry industry has long used the routine administration of antibiotics “to promote the growth of poultry and manage gut microbiota,” the authors explain. But a growing understanding of the environmental and human-health consequences of antibiotics overuse in livestock production has led to banning or regulating them as feed additives.

Rajesh and Sudhir review alternatives to antibiotics, such as probiotics, prebiotics, and others “that mimic the functions of antibiotics as growth promoters and modulate gut microbiota for their beneficial roles,” such as improving “nutrient digestion, absorption, metabolism, and overall health and growth performance of poultry.”

The authors hope to help producers and regulatory agencies “to develop new dietary and managerial strategies that will ultimately lead to enhanced feed utilization and improved growth performance of poultry.”