Countering dysbiosis in chicken to avoid reduced and uneven growth rates across flocks, issues that can have a severe impact on bird health and profitability, is a constant challenge for poultry producers.
Today’s health and welfare achievements on poultry farms are highly impressive, but they’re rarely easy to maintain, especially in the face of the disruptive impact which a dysbiosis-based attack has on the gut microbiome of affected chicken.
Devising effective control measures against this condition, which is widely recognised as one of the most harmful in relation to poultry production, has led researchers at Phileo by Lesaffre to focus on the role bacteria probiotics could play in protecting and preserving a healthy gut microbiome. In this context, Phileo by Lesaffre’s new generation probiotic, Microsaf®, has shown strong results in trials to assess its efficacy in countering a dysbiosis attack in chicken.
Microsaf® is a unique association of Bacillus species, Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, Bacillus licheniformis, Bacillus pumilus, each of which was carefully selected to deliver improvements in feed efficiency, gut function, and microbiota. The probiotic is also designed to help boost overall growth performance in birds.
The development of Microsaf® featured the use of Germination Optimization Technology – GO Technology®. This exclusive patented technology is equipped to make Bacillus spores ready to germinate, delivering probiotic benefits to birds more efficiently than non-GO processes.
Comparing GO and non-GO technologies, in fact, has confirmed the role of GO Technology® in accelerating and synchronizing the germination of the three Microsaf® strains. Studies have shown that GO Technology®-primed Bacillus licheniformis spores reach a 90% germination in 45 minutes, compared just 10% of spores being germinated with non-primed B. licheniformis.
Microsaf® has also been shown to have excellent resistance to high-temperature pelletization and long-duration heat treatment.
To explore the impact of Microsaf® on birds, specifically while they were undergoing a dysbiosis challenge, a trial was established at Texas A&M University in the USA, in 2022. A total of 480 ROSS 708 broilers were divided into two groups of 12 replicates, each containing 20 birds. All birds were placed on used litter from day zero (D0).
Group one birds served as a partially challenged control while group two birds, exposed to a greater challenge, received Microsaf® as a dietary supplement, given at 500 g/t (Log 5.0 CFU/g of feed) from D0-42. In addition, birds in the Microsaf® group were given a coccidiosis vaccine at double the recommended dose. Diets in the Microsaf® group contained 5% DDG’s throughout all phases of production.
Trial results showed significant body weight and FCR differences between the two groups. The average body weight of the Microsaf® birds was 180 g more than birds in the control group (Fig.1) with FCR being 10 points lower for the supplemented group than for the control (Fig.2). It was duly concluded that Microsaf® has the capacity to mitigate the negative effects of a dysbiosis challenge, while also improving the growth performance of birds under challenging conditions.
Another trial, this time carried out in India on birds exposed to a mild coccidia challenge, showed that Microsaf® helped to improve bird performance and mitigated the effect of necrotic enteritis at a low supplementation rate of Log 5.0 CFU/g of feed. It was also found that, at this inclusion rate, Microsaf® outperformed other Bacillus products, even when they were supplemented at higher inclusion rates.
During the India trial, the efficacy of Microsaf® supplementation (at Log 5.0 CFU/g) was compared to another commercial Bacillus product administered at its recommended dosage of 2 x Log 8 CFU/g of feed.
A total of 125 male Cobb broilers were used for the trial. They were divided into five treatment groups with five replicates in each: Negative control (NC); Challenged control (CC); CC + BMD (500 g/t); CC + commercial Bacillus subtilis based probiotic at 2 x Log 8 CFU/g of feed; and CC + Microsaf® at Log 5.0 CFU/g of feed.
Challenged birds were exposed to a mild coccidia challenge on D14, with the administration of 10 x the recommended dose of Livacox Q being followed by a Clostridium perfringens (Cp) challenge for four days, from D17-20. The Cp challenge, following on from the coccidiosis priming, simulated an actual in-field infection.
Trial results showed that feed supplementation with Microsaf® at 500 g/t reversed the negative effect of the challenge in relation to body weight (Fig. 3). These results were also assessed as being better than those recorded with a Bacillus subtilis-based probiotic and BMD.
In was concluded that, considering livability and the European Performance Index (EPI), Microsaf® was superior to an AGP-like bacitracin (BMD).
Microorganisms from the genus Bacillus have been studied as a sustainable solution to support modern farming, consumer health, and animal welfare. When different species of Bacillus are combined within a single product, they have a broader spectrum of action and provide multiple benefits, which potentially can reduce the use of AGP. Microsaf® combines three species of Bacillus (B. amyloliquefaciens, B. licheniformis, and B. pumilus), which have a complementary mode of action resulting in the inhibition of pathogens by stimulating the immune response in the host (B. amyloliquefaciens and B. pumilus), enzymatic activity (B. amyloliquefaciens), and organic acid production (B. licheniformis). These antimicrobial properties have been demonstrated in numerous studies in poultry and continue proving that Microsaf® is a promising and cost-effective solution in the poultry market.
Supplementing birds’ diet with Microsaf® can protect the gastrointestinal tract of birds from the development of necrotic enteritis with improvement in the productive parameters and without the need for AGP. Microsaf®, powered by the GO Technology®, is an efficient sustainable solution, scientifically proven, to protect the gastrointestinal tract of broilers from the negative effects of pathogens while guaranteeing growth performance and cost-effectively reducing antibiotic use.
About Dr. Alain Riggi
Dr Alain Riggi has rich field working experiences as Chief Veterinarian with different poultry production companies before joining MSD animal health in 2010 where he held different positions including Poultry Technical Director for Europe and North & West Africa. Currently, Dr Riggi is Global species manager – Poultry at Phileo by Lesaffre. As poultry veterinarian, one of Dr Riggi’s core missions at Phileo by Lesaffre is to help large poultry producers in the world (US, China, EU, Brazil, Thailand, etc.) to identify the issues in their farms and provide solutions.
About Dr. Ruth Raspoet
Ruth Raspoet received a master’s in Biomedical Sciences and Molecular Biotechnology at Ghent University. In 2014 she obtained a PhD in Veterinary Medical Science at Ghent University, studying the survival mechanisms of Salmonella Enteritidis in egg white. After contributing on studies for Salmonella vaccine development with Ghent University, she joined Phileo by Lesaffre in April 2015 as Poultry R&D manager. Raspoet’s core function is to develop new products, services and solutions for the poultry industry.