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Avian Pathol. 2002 Dec;31(6):598-601.

Necrotic enteritis: effect of barley, wheat and corn diets on proliferation of Clostridium perfringens type A.

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Department of Veterinary Pathology, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 5B4.


Necrotic enteritis, caused by Clostridium perfringens type A, is more prevalent in broilers fed wheat or barley diets than in those fed a corn diet. We compared the effects of wheat, barley and corn diets on in vitro proliferation of C. perfringens type A. Bacteria were inoculated into the supernatants delivered from either digested or non-digested barley, wheat and corn diets mixed with thioglycollate medium (1:3). Colony forming units were counted following incubation for 6 h at 40 degrees C. There were no significant differences in clostridial proliferation among non-digested diets. Bacterial proliferation in the digested wheat and barley diets was significantly higher than in the digested corn diet. These findings suggest that the increased incidence of necrotic enteritis in broilers fed barley and wheat diets compared with those fed a corn diet may be due in part to increased clostridial proliferation associated with the wheat and barley diets, or to decreased proliferation associated with the corn diet.

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