Characterizing the chicken gut colonization ability of a diverse group of bacteria

Binita Poudel, Naama Shterzer, Yara Sbehat, Nir Ben-Porat, Michal Rakover, Ron Tovy-Sharon, Dvora Wolicki, Stav Rahamim, Enav Bar-Shira, Erez Mills*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The development of probiotics for chickens is a rapidly expanding field. The main approach to probiotics is to administer the probiotic strain throughout the bird's life, usually through incorporation in the feed. However, probiotics which would utilize bacterial strains capable of permanently colonizing the gut after a single exposure are likely to have a greater impact on the developing gut community as well as on the host, would simplify probiotic use and also reduce costs in an industrial setting. Finally, very limited and conflicting information about the colonization ability of different bacterial strains has been reported. Here we report 2 colonization experiments using 14 different bacterial strains from diverse phylogenetic groups. In both experiments, groups of chicks were orally inoculated on the day of hatch with different bacterial strains that had been previously isolated from adult heavy breeders. In the first experiment, colonization of the bacterial strains in broiler chicks was determined 7 d after treatment. In the second experiment, colonization was followed in layer chicks until d 17. Ten of the bacterial strains, including Lactobacillales and Bacteroidales strains, were able to colonize chicks after a single exposure for the duration of the experiment. For a few of these strains, exposure had little effect compared to non-treated chicks due to natural background colonization. Only 4 strains failed to colonize the chicks. Moreover, it is shown that fecal samples are useful to identify and provide a dynamic view of colonization. We further analyzed the effects of artificial colonization on microbiota composition. Some of the strains used in this research were found to reduce Enterobacteriaceae family abundance, implying that they might be useful in reducing relevant pathogen levels. To conclude, our results show that the development of single exposure based probiotics is possible.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number102136
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022

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  • chicken
  • colonization
  • lactobacillus
  • microbiome
  • probiotics


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