Managing gut health in broilers

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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.

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Improving gut morphology and protecting the gut cell wall from pathogen attachment

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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 makes it more difficult for pathogenic bacteria to attach to the gut epithelium, while longer villi improve nutrient absorption.

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Preserving tight junction integrity

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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.

Decreasing pathogen pressure in the gut

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Posadas et al. published several trials in vitro to demonstrate Safmannan®’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, but confirms that Safmannan® helps to decrease pathogenic bacteria pressure in the gut, limiting the negative effects of pathogenic bacteria on gut health.

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Find out more about broiler management

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