In broiler production, making birds grow faster through genetic selection is partly based on their eating capacity, resulting in a constant oversupply of feed/nutrients to the gut. This creates chronic physiological inflammation, with bacteria such as Clostridium perfringens, growing in this intestinal status and impacting on gut health. As 70% of the immune system capacity of birds is concentrated in the gut, the smallest enteritis can impact growth and make birds more sensitive to disease.
Maintaining good gut health is important in transforming feed into meat and protecting farmers’ margins. Giving Safmannan® to high performing birds has been shown to reduce the effects of production stress and enhance gut health.
Trial evidence shows the effect of Safmannan® on the production of goblet cells, which secrete mucus that protects the gut cell wall. Birds in the trial, given Safmannan® supplemented feed, produced three times more goblet cells than those fed a control feed. They also had longer villi in the jejunum (Morales et al., 2010) (p<0,05).
This may contribute to limit pathogenic bacteria attachment to the gut epithelium, while longer villi improve nutrient absorption.
A trial was also run by IRTA to assess the effect of Safmannan® on tight junction integrity. The fluorescence method, which highlights ZO-1, was used, showing more intense fluorescence spots in the Safmannan® group than in the control. This demonstrated improved tight junction integrity after a local inflammation challenge.
This effect helps reduce the passage of fluids from blood circulation into the gut, thus avoiding leaky gut and wet faeces.
Posadas et al. published several trials in vitro to evaluateSafmannan®’s capacity to bind fimbriae of Gram-bacteria, such as Salmonella. Research showed that 75% of Clostridium perfringens was also bound, even when Gram+ bacteria had no fimbriae. The mode of action for Gram+ bacteria is still to be clarified. Based on this evidence, Safmannan® may help to better manage birds under pathogenic stress.