Dietary enzyme and zinc bacitracin reduce colonisation of layer hens by the intestinal spirochaete Brachyspira intermedia

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-360
Journal / PublicationVeterinary Microbiology
Issue number4
Online published13 Mar 2002
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2002
Externally publishedYes


Brachyspira intermedia strain HB60 was used to experimentally infect 40 individually caged 22-week-old laying hens. Another 10 control birds were sham-inoculated with sterile broth. All chickens received an experimental layer diet based on wheat. The infected birds were randomly divided into four groups of 10, with the diet for each group containing either 50 ppm zinc bacitracin (ZnB), 100 ppm ZnB, 256 ppm of dietary enzyme (Avizyme®, 1302), or no additive. Birds were kept for 6 weeks after infection, and faecal excretion of B. intermedia, faecal water content, egg numbers, egg weights and body weights were recorded weekly. Control birds remained uninfected throughout the experiment. B. intermedia was isolated significantly less frequently from the groups of experimentally infected birds receiving ZnB at 50 ppm or enzyme than from those receiving 100 ppm ZnB or no treatment. Infected birds had a transient increase in faecal water content in the week following challenge, but no other significant production differences were detected amongst the five groups of birds in subsequent weeks. It was not established how the ZnB at 50 ppm and the dietary enzyme reduced the ability of the spirochaete to colonise, but it may have been by bringing about changes in the intestinal microflora and/or the intestinal microenvironment.

Research Area(s)

  • Brachyspira intermedia, Chicken, Dietary enzymes, Intestinal colonisation, Zinc bacitracin

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