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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2011 Sep;77(17):5868-78. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00165-11. Epub 2011 Jul 8.

Identification and characterization of potential performance-related gut microbiotas in broiler chickens across various feeding trials.

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SARDI, Plant and Soil Health, GPO Box 397, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia.


Three broiler feeding trials were investigated in order to identify gut bacteria consistently linked with improvements in bird performance as measured by feed efficiency. Trials were done in various geographic locations and varied in diet composition, broiler breed, and bird age. Gut microbial communities were investigated using microbial profiling. Eight common performance-linked operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were identified within both the ilea (180, 492, and 564-566) and ceca (140-142, 218-220, 284-286, 312, and 482) across trials. OTU 564-566 was associated with lower performance, while OTUs 140-142, 482, and 492 were associated with improved performance. Targeted cloning and sequencing of these eight OTUs revealed that they represented 26 bacterial species or phylotypes which clustered phylogenetically into seven groups related to Lactobacillus spp., Ruminococcaceae, Clostridiales, Gammaproteobacteria, Bacteroidales, Clostridiales/Lachnospiraceae, and unclassified bacteria/clostridia. Where bacteria were identifiable to the phylum level, they belonged predominantly to the Firmicutes, with Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria also identified. Some of the potential performance-related phylotypes showed high sequence identity with classified bacteria (Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus aviarius, Lactobacillus crispatus, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Escherichia coli, Gallibacterium anatis, Clostridium lactatifermentans, Ruminococcus torques, Bacteroides vulgatus, and Alistipes finegoldii). The 16S rRNA gene sequence information generated will allow quantitative assays to be developed which will enable elucidations of which of these phylotypes are truly performance related. This information could be used to monitor strategies to improve feed efficiency and feed formulation for optimal gut health.

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