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Influence of fermentable carbohydrates on the intestinal bacteria and enteropathogens in broilers

  • H. REHMAN (a1), W. VAHJEN (a2), A. KOHL-PARISINI (a3), A. IJAZ (a1) and J. ZENTEK (a2)...

The gastrointestinal tract is a complex milieu as a result of interaction between dietary ingredients and the intestinal bacteria. Following the European ban on the use of in-feed antibiotics, research has focused mainly on the potentially beneficial activities of the intestinal microbiota. Fermentable carbohydrates, or ‘prebiotics’, such as non-digestible oligosaccharides, are considered to have beneficial effects on the composition and activity of the indigenous microbiota, which can enhance the resistance of the host against colonisation of pathogenic bacteria in the GIT. Only a limited number of prebiotics has been tested in broilers that include fructo-oligosaccharides, inulin, mannan-oligosaccharides, alpha gluco-oligosaccharides, isomalto-oligosaccharides, different kestoses and lactose along with its derivatives. This review provides an overview pertaining to the potential impact of prebiotics on the intestinal bacterial population in broilers and summarizes the data regarding the role of prebiotics in preventing the colonisation of enteropathogens especially Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp. and Clostridium spp. Moreover, the influence of prebiotics on the intestinal bacterial fermentation profile, particularly short chain fatty acids, ammonia and lactate, is also discussed. Prebiotics have been found to affect the intestinal bacterial population particularly elevating the caecal count of Lactobacillus spp. and Bifidobacterium spp. The effect of prebiotics on the intestinal bacteria is also evident in terms of change in the total concentration or relative proportion of short chain fatty acids. The ability of prebiotics in controlling the colonisation of different enterpathogens especially Salmonella spp., Clostridium perfringens or Campylobacter spp. showed inconsistent results depending upon the available literature.

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