On April 16, 2020 EW Nutrition delivered its webinar ‘Parameters in broiler health – Insights into intestinal microbiome and practical solutions’ via the now all too familiar Zoom technology.
The webinar was part of EW Nutrition’s ‘Partners in Progress-Connect, a science based webinar series which enables the exchange of experience, knowledge and innovative ideas.
EW Nutrition North Europe Technical Manager for Poultry, Alla Levchenko, spoke about broiler health, in particular the microbiome and its influence on gut health and productivity.
In the webinar, Alla explored solutions to prevent the risks posed by pathogens native to the gastro intestinal tract.
“The microbiome is a complex community with a key function of generating hydrolysis of polysaccharides and oligosaccharides into primary sugars and also the fermentation of the primary sugars producing short chain fatty acids (SFCA) – acetate, proprionate and butyrate,” Alla explained.
“SFCA are employed as an energy and carbon source, regulate blood flow, stimulate growth of enterocytes and regulate production of mucin.
“The chicken provides nutrients to intestinal bacteria and mucin is an important source of carbon, nitrogen and energy for commensal bacteria and pathogens,” she added.
“Microbiome changes occur seasonally, for instance, Lachnospiraceae become significantly less abundant in the autumn period.
“In the case of winter versus summer, Erysipelotrichaceae and Phascolarctobacterium become significantly more abundant in winter.
Moving onto community composition versus functionality of the Microbiome, Alla described the dominant genera and taxonomic variation of dominant bacteria types.
The subject of metagenomics and gene functions in relation to the microbiome were explained by Alla and next, the changes in the microbiome with the use of medication (Monensin, Monensin + Virginiamycin and Monensin + Tylosin).
Research by Carrasco et al (2019) was the basis for a description of microbiota composition and productive performance, notably body weight and FCR from various microbial influences.
“What microbes are doing, might be more important than who is present,” Alla suggested.
The presence of pathogens, their functionality and the associated risks were next considered.
“Some present at low abundance and exist throughout the life of the animal and some strains can cause opportunistic secondary infections following other respiratory infections (e.g. Mycoplasma gallisepticum), or following physiological changes (peritonitis).
“Unlike in other species, in poultry, avian pathogen E. coli (APEC) does not have the set of virulence genes,” Alla stated.
“Some APEC isolates have similarities in the genes of extra intestinal E.coli causing problems in humans and therefore suggest that some APEC E.coli could be zoonotic. However no clear relation has been demonstrated,” she said.
“Whilst APEC’s zoonotic potential is uncertain, several research papers suggest that intestinal microflora, including E.coli, may serve as a reservoir for antibiotic resistance and share the resistance to zoonotic pathogens such as Salmonella.
“Clostridium perfringens is present in the population of commensal bacteria at very low levels of abundance.
“Many members of the Clostridium family are beneficial strains associated with butyrate production, reduced inflammation, reduced gut permeability and improved gut health generally.
“However the clostridial population includes some species that are pathogenic for poultry, such as Clostridium perfringens, C septicum and C colinum. C. perfringens causes necrotic enteritis in poultry.
“Isolates of C. perfringens that are pathogenic for poultry contain a novel toxin type that is not possessed by human pathotypes, work by Keyburn et al 2010 revealed.
“C. perfringens is a human pathogen transmitted through food and has been traced to different origins, including food products of avian origin,” Alla explained.
“To support intestinal health in our birds there is a range of materials including phytogenics, pre/pro biotics, SCFA and MCFA, as well as yeast derivatives.
In the final stage of her presentation Alla spoke about the antimicrobial properties of phytomolecular products including liquid phytomolecules to manage gut health.
“Activo liquid demonstrates bactericidal effects towards antibiotic resistant and non-resistant E. coli,” she said.
Describing the benefits of in vivo powder products, microencapsulated phytogenic that optimally supports gut health Alla stated that “a powder product that has similar components in its composition demonstrates the reduction of E. coli, coliforms, and Total Viable Count in the digesta samples from the crop and caecum when added to feed.”
She described trial work to demonstrate the mitigation of the negative impact of Necrotic Enteritis by the use of Activo + Activo Liquid with adjusted FCR results (1-42 days) with NE lesion scores and % NE mortality.
“The groups applied Activo and Activo Liquid respectively showed comparable FCRs with the unchallenged healthy group. There was an improved lesion score compared to the challenged group and there was significantly lower mortality levels,” the EW Nutrition conducted research revealed.
In conclusion Alla said “that even with the immense progress in the methodology of detection with sequencing techniques, the dynamics within the microbiome of poultry remain not very well understood.
“The population of microbial progress community is influenced by multiple external factors, such as environment, season, feed, genetics, as well as the internal factors that can be mediated through the metabolism within the host’s organism.
“It is vastly important to obtain the knowledge and techniques that would allow us to detect the risk of the onset of pathogen overgrowth in the early stages that would allow the poultry producers to stop such an onset in the early stage or prevent it entirely.
“Existing alternatives to conventional medication, such as phytomolecule compounds, are effective in prophylactic use to support intestinal health and liquid products can be used as an effective and fast solution in the period of challenge,” Alla said.
Alla Levchenko’s Zoom presentation was exceptionally well delivered. She has been immersed in many scientific aspects of poultry and meat production before joining EW Nutrition.
With a BSc from the Agricultural university of the Ukraine, Alla achieved an MSc from the University of Glasgow before working for Cargill and Cargill/Provimi.
She is fluent in English, Russian, Ukrainian and Dutch.
Back in September 2017, Poultry Digest visited EW Nutrition’s then recently acquired research facility at Luna near Liepzig and learned from the experts at EW head office Visbec about Activo and the research behind the product.
The company’s research and production capabilities are truly staggering and they are leaders in the field of phytogenics as well as pre-probiotics toxin management solutions.