Zinc bacitracin enhances colonization by the intestinal spirochaete Brachyspira pilosicoli in experimentally infected layer hens

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)293-298
Journal / PublicationAvian Pathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


Brachyspira pilosicoli strain CPSp1 isolated from a chicken in a broiler breeder flock in Queensland was used to experimentally infect 40 individually caged 22-week-old laying hens. Another 10 birds were sham-inoculated with sterile broth. All chickens received a commercial layer diet, but 10 infected birds had 50 parts/106 zinc bacitracin (ZnB) incorporated in their food. Birds were kept for 7 weeks, and faecal moisture, egg numbers, egg weights and body weights were recorded weekly. B. pilosicoli was isolated from the faeces of only three of the 30 inoculated birds receiving the diet without ZnB, whereas seven of the 10 inoculated birds receiving ZnB in their diet were colonized. This difference in colonization rate was highly significant (P = < 0.001). Dietary ZnB at 50 parts/106 therefore predisposed to colonization by B. pilosicoli. Despite colonization, no significant production differences were found between the birds in the three groups.