Dietary strategies can increase cloacal endotoxin levels and modulate the resident microbiota in broiler chickens

Vera Perricone, Dirkjan Schokker, Alex Bossers, Anne de Bruijn, Soumya K. Kar, Marinus F.W. Te Pas, Johanna M.J. Rebel, Inge M. Wouters, Ingrid C. de Jong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Endotoxins released from poultry feces have been associated with impaired human health. Because endotoxins are released from gram-negative intestinal bacteria, it was hypothesized that dietary strategies may influence endotoxin excretion via modulation of gut microbiota. We therefore tested dietary strategies that could potentially reduce cloacal endotoxin levels in broiler chickens. One-day-old male Ross 308 (N = 1,344) broilers were housed in 48 pens (N = 8 pens/treatment, 28 chickens per pen) and fed 1 of 6 diets for 35 days (d) in a 3-phase feeding program: a basic diet (CON) that served as the reference diet, or basic diet supplemented with butyrate (BUT), inulin (INU), medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) or Original XPC™LS (XPC), or a high-fiber-low-protein (HF-LP) diet. A significant (P < 0.05) increase in cloacal endotoxin concentration at d 35 was observed in BUT as compared to CON. Analysis of cloacal microbiota showed a trend (P < 0.07) for a higher gram-negative/gram-positive ratio and for a higher relative abundance of gram-negative bacteria at d 35 (P ≤ 0.08) in BUT and HF-LP as compared to CON. A significant (P < 0.05) increase in average daily gain (ADG) and improved feed conversion ratio (P < 0.05) were observed in MCFA during the grower phase (d 14–28), and a significant (P < 0.05) increase in average daily feed intake (ADFI) was observed in MCFA during d 0 to 28. Broilers fed HF-LP had a significantly (P < 0.05) higher FCR and lower ADG throughout the rearing period. No treatment effects were found on footpad dermatitis, but BUT had worst hock burn scores at d 35 (P < 0.01) and MCFA had worst cleanliness scores at d 21 but not at d 35 (treatment*age P < 0.05), while INU had better cleanliness as compared to CON at d 35 (P < 0.05). In conclusion, especially BUT and HF-LP were able to modulate resident microbiota and BUT also increased cloacal endotoxin levels, which was opposite to our hypothesis. The present study indicates that cloacal endotoxin release can be affected by the diet but further study is needed to find dietary treatments that can reduce cloacal endotoxin release.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103312
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024


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