Ileal microbiota composition of broilers fed various commercial diet compositions

E. van der Hoeven-Hangoor, J.M.B.M. Vossen, F.H.J. Schuren, M.W.A. Verstegen, J.E. de Oliveira, R.C. Montijn, W.H. Hendriks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Microbiota plays a role in the release and absorption of nutrients from feed components, thereby affecting digesta composition and moisture content of the excreta. The objective of the current study was to determine the effects of 5 different diets varying in ingredients (medium-chain fatty acids, nonstarch polysaccharides, and starch) on the microbiota composition of ileal digesta of broiler chickens and excreta DM content. Each treatment was repeated 6 times in cages each containing 18 Ross 308 broilers, with growth performance measured from 0 to 34 d of age and excreta DM and ileal microbiota composition analyzed at 34 d of age. Microbiota composition was evaluated using a novel ribosomal RNA microarray technology containing 370 different probes covering various genera, groups of microbial species, and individual species of the chicken gut microbiota, of which 321 had a signal above the background threshold. Replacing part of the animal fat and soybean oil in the wheat-based diet with medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA; 0.3% C10 and 2.7% C12) improved feed efficiency compared with the other dietary treatments. This coincided with a suppression of gram-positive bacteria belonging to the phylum of the Firmicutes, including Lactobacillus species, and species belonging to the family of the Enterococcaceae and Micrococcaceae, whereas the gram-negative bacteria belonging to the family of the Enterobacteriaceae were promoted. None of the other diets used in the present study notably changed the ileal digesta bacteria composition. Excreta DM content was not affected by dietary treatment. The variation between individual birds per dietary treatment was more pronounced than variation caused by feed composition, with the exception of the digesta microbiota of the birds fed the MCFA diet. It is concluded that a diet with MCFA significantly changes the ileal microbiota composition, whereas the effect of the other diets on the composition of the microbiota and excreta DM content is small in broiler chickens.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2713-2723
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • gradient gel-electrophoresis
  • fatty-acids
  • gut microflora
  • xylanase supplementation
  • bacterial community
  • enterococcus-hirae
  • chickens
  • performance
  • ileum
  • feed

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