Effects of Bacillus subtilis on performance, immune system and gut in Salmonella-challenged broilers
The goal of this study was to compare the effects of Bacillus subtilis and the antibiotic enrofloxacin on growth performance, immune response, intestinal histomorphometry and cecal Salmonella numbers in broilers challenged with S. gallinarum. Salmonella-free chicks (n = 240) were allocated to four groups, comprising six replicates (n = 10) each. Group NN was not infected and received no treatment. Group SN was infected with Salmonella and received no treatment. Group SE was infected with Salmonella and treated with the antibiotic enrofloxacin. Group SP was infected with Salmonella and treated orally with the probiotic B. subtilis. Initially the groups that were infected with Salmonella had reduced growth performance compared with NN. By the fourth week, SE and SP had recovered and weighed as much as or more than NN. The SP group had greater cellular immunity and relative weights of the bursa and thymus than the other groups. SN had the lowest villus height in all the segments of the small intestine and a larger Salmonella population in the ceca. Probiotic supplementation reduced the pathological outcomes more than enrofloxacin. Prophylactic use of B. subtilis-type probiotics had similar effects to the use of antibiotics, alleviated the stress related to infection of S. gallinarum, and improved the growth performance, immune function, and gut mucosal development in broilers.
Keywords: growth promoters, immunity, probiotics, poultry villi length