Maintaining gut health in poultry is essential to raising top performing birds. When properly managed, good gut health in poultry empowers birds to fight off disease. However, managing broiler gut health has been a challenge in recent years as poultry producers face tremendous consumer pressure to reduce antibiotic use. This movement comes from the public's growing concern that antibiotic use in meat production will result in antibiotic resistance in humans. Producing top-quality poultry and eggs at consumer-friendly prices, without the support of antibiotics, creates a huge challenge, but it can be done.
Over the years, Kemin has created antibiotic-free gut health solutions for poultry by researching beneficial bacteria and optimized feed efficiency methods. So how does it work? Improving broiler gut health involves a combined focus of the structural integrity of the intestine, the healthy balance of microflora and the status of the immune system. Each of these elements are interconnected.
Intestinal integrity is all about maintaining the strength of the intestinal barrier in order to maximize nutrient absorption within the bird. The intestinal barrier is made up of a layer of epithelial cells, preventing harmful pathogens and toxins from entering the system (i.e., leaky gut), and is critical for fluid and electrolyte secretion. Since it is regularly exposed to up to 10 trillion microorganisms, it's important to keep this barrier functioning properly.
Balancing microbiota when managing broiler gut health means to diversify the complex community of microorganisms living in the digestive tract of broilers. This exposure to beneficial bacteria, microflora and microbes promotes a healthy gastrointestinal (GI) tract by stimulating the immune system and protecting against pathogens.
Up to 70 percent of an animal's immune response resides in the GI tract. So, supporting immune functions will help poultry respond to challenges like disease and inflammation. By supporting tight junctions, or multi-protein cells that tightly bind the epithelial cells within the stomach lining, the immunity response of animals can be improved. The breakdown of the intestinal barrier results in losses of animal production and efficiency.
Kemin knows from its years of research in improving broiler gut health that the first bacteria introduced to a chick originates from the parent, so steps to control gut health should start at the parent flock level. Creating an environment of healthy bacteria will carry on to subsequent flocks, producing a cumulative benefit for bird health and productivity alike. To support these strategies, Kemin has created a line of gut health solutions for poultry to help protect each element of gut health.
ButiPEARL® is the leading source of encapsulated butyric acid for providing targeted delivery along the GI tract. Butyric acid is an integral, short-chain fatty acid acting as an energy source for epithelial cells. This acid also supports gut health through the development of the intestinal epithelium. Butyric acid increases the expression of tight junction proteins in the intestines and increases antioxidant levels to promote healing in the GI tract.1,2
ButiPEARL® Z uses proprietary MicroPEARLS® spray freezing technology to encapsulate two synergistic nutrients, butyric acid and zinc. Butyric acid and zinc play and important role in key biological processes affecting the health and performance of production animals like poultry. Zinc is active in many key biological processes, increases microbial diversity and upregulates tight junction proteins in intestines.3,4
CLOSTAT® contains a proprietary, patented strain of Bacillus subtilis PB6. This unique, naturally occurring, spore-forming microorganism has been identified and selected by Kemin to help maintain the balance of microflora in the intestinal tract of livestock and poultry. Kemin internal research has shown PB6 can inhibit C. perfringens, as well as other pathogens.5
KEM SAN® is a unique combination of effective organic acids. It has been proven to inhibit and kill a broad spectrum of pathogenic bacteria in drinking water. By reducing the pathogen load in the water, there are less challenges presented to the bird, which helps maintain gut health.
Aleta™ offers a concentration greater than 50% of 1,3-beta glucans. Beta glucans have been used in human and livestock as a way to enhance host protective immunity. Enhancing protective immunity during a time when young animals are developing their immune system can be beneficial to producers. Minimizing the impact of disease challenges early on in an animal's life can have an effect on their ability to gain weight faster, convert feed more efficiently and may be less likely to spread disease.
1Peng, L. et al. 2009. Butyrate Enhances the Intestinal Barrier by Facilitating Tight Junction Assembly via Activation of AMP-Activated Protein Kinase in Caco-2 Cell Monolayers. J. Nutr. 139:1619-1625.
2Ma, X. et al. 2012. Butyrate promotes the recovering of intestinal wound healing through its positive effect on the tight junctions. J. Anim. Sci. 90:266-268.
3Katouli, M. et al. 1999. The effect of zinc oxide supplementation on the stability of the intestinal flora with special reference to composition of coliforms in weaned pigs. J. of Applied Microbiology. 87:564-573.
4Zhang, B. et al. 2012. Zinc prevents Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium-induced loss of intestinal mucosal barrier function in broiler chickens. Avian Pathology. 41:361-367.
5Kemin Internal Document, 09-00010.