Project: Alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters for broilers

Area of Expertise:

Project objective: This proposed project will develop a number of aspects and evaluate the efficacy of lactobacilli strains which have been isolated as potential probiotics.

Project leader: Dr Elizabeth Ball

Project details

The use of antibiotic growth promoters in broiler diets has been almost eliminated within UK from a combination of EU legislation and consumer (supermarket) pressure. A range of possible alternatives is being marketed, including probiotics, organic acids,herbs etc. Feed enzymes have been shown to modify the gut microflora and it has been suggested that this may be beneficial in protecting against Coccidiosis.

Studies on the effects of feed enzymes in combination with organic acids as part of a postgraduate project have shown up interactions affecting microflora and bird performance. There is anecdotal evidence that increasing the dissolved oxygen level in drinking water may alter gut microflora and bird performance. The proposed project will develop these aspects and evaluate the efficacy of lactobacilli strains which have been isolated as potential probiotics.

Journal Articles

Murphy, T. C. , McCracken, K. J. , McCann, M.E.E. , George, J. , Bedford, M. R. (2009). Broiler performance and in vivo viscosity as influenced by a range of xylanases, varying in ability to effect wheat in vitro viscosity. British Poultry Science, 50(6):716-724

Owens, B. , McCann, M.E.E. , Preston, C. D. (2009). The effect of substitution of inorganic zinc with proteinated or chelated zinc on broiler performance. Journal of Applied Poultry Research, 18:789-794

Hoey, L. , McNulty, H. , McCann, M.E.E. , McCracken, K. J. , Scott, J. M. , Pentieva, K. (2009). Laying hens can convert high doses of folic acid added to the feed into natural. British Journal of Nutrition, 101:206-212

Pirgozliev, V. , Murphy, T. C. , Owens, B. , George, J. , McCann, M.E.E. (2008). Fumaric and sorbic acid as additive in broiler feed. Research in Veterinary Science, 84(3):387-394

Owens, B. , Tucker, L. , Collins, M. A. , McCracken, K. J. (2008). Effects of different growth promoters alone or in combination on broiler performance, gut microflora and ileal histology. British Poultry Science, 49(2):202-212

Owens, B. , McCracken, K. J. (2007). A comparison of the effects of different yeast products and antibiotic. British Poultry Science, 48(1):49-54

McCann, M.E.E. , Newell, E. , Preston, C. M. , Forbes, K. (2006). The Use of Mannan-oligosaccharides and/or tannin in broiler diets. International Journal of Poultry Science, 5(9):873-879

McCann, M.E.E. , McCracken, K. J. , Hoey, L. , Pentieva, K. , McNulty, H. , Scott, J. (2004). Effect of dietary folic acid supplementation on the folate content of broiler chicken meat. British Poultry Science, 45(1):S65-S65

Knowledge Transfer

Griffiths, L. , McCann, M.E.E. (2009). The use of glycerol in broiler diets. Local Farming Press, October 2009

Thompson, J. K. (2009). How does the feeding of supplements affect the growth and survival of bacteria in the gut?. Northern Ireland Pig Event, September 2009

Owens, B. , McCann, M.E.E. (2006). Too much zinc is not good for growth. Poultry World

Owens, B. , McCann, M.E.E. (2006). Organic zinc for broilers. Poultry World, August


McCann, M.E.E. (2007). The effect of maize particle size and enzyme addition on broiler performance. Report prepared for Danisco Animal Nutrition.