R. Bras. Zootec.. 01/Dec/2016;45(12):745-54.
Assessment of a natural, non-antibiotic blend on performance, blood biochemistry, intestinal microflora, and morphology of broilers challenged with Escherichia coli
The effect of a non-antibiotic growth-promoting component composed of natural phytomolecules, direct-fed microbials, glucomannan oligosaccharides, and organic acids on the performance, intestinal morphology and microbiology, plasma biochemistry, enzyme activities, visceral organ weights, and immune response of commercial broilers challenged with Escherichia coli was investigated. Three hundred and sixty one-day old male Ross 308 broiler chicks were randomly divided into basal diet (control, CON); control plus 0.5 mL of culture materials containing 108 cfu/mL of E. coli (E. coli); control with 400 mg/kg bacitracin methylene disalicylate (an antibiotic growth promoter, AGP); control plus 1000 g/t of feed of a blended mixture of natural feed additives (NAT); combination of E. coli and AGP treatments (E. coli + AGP); or the combination of E. coli and NAT treatments (E. coli + NAT). E. coli injection decreased broiler performance by lowering body weight and increasing feed intake, whereas AGP and NAT treatments improved body weight and the feed efficiency when compared to the other groups. However, feed intake was not affected by treatment. Immune response also improved with the addition of NAT, compared with control. Blood biochemistry parameters were significantly affected by the treatments. Nutrient digestibilities were increased by AGP and NAT supplementation in E. coli-challenged groups. Both AGP and NAT significantly decreased E. coli and coliform numbers in ceca. Ileal villus height was not affected by treatment, but ileal crypt depth and goblet cell counts decreased in the NAT relative to control group. Antibiotic growth promoter was somewhat more effective in improving broiler growth and health characteristics than NAT, but since NAT generally improved broiler performance compared to the control group, it can be alternatively used as an alternative to AGP in commercial broiler production.