The poultry industry aims to improve productivity while maintaining the health and welfare of flocks. Pathogen control has been achieved through biosecurity, vaccinations and the use of antibiotics. However, the emergence of antibiotic resistance, in animal and human pathogens, has prompted researchers and chicken growers alike to seek alternative approaches. The use of new and emerging approaches to combat pathogen activity including nanotechnology, in particular, silver nanoparticles (NPs), has been found to not only eradicate pathogenic bacteria but also include issues of toxicity and bioaccumulation effects. Other novel metal nanoparticles could provide this pathogen reducing property with a more tailored and biocompatible nanomaterial for the model used, something our study represents. This study investigated the benefits of nanomaterial delivery mechanisms coupled with important health constituents using selenium as a biocompatible metal to minimise toxicity properties. Selenium NPs were compared to two common forms of bulk selenium macronutrients already used in the poultry industry. An intermediate concentration of selenium nanoparticles (0.9 mg/kg) demonstrated the best performance, improving the gut health by increasing the abundance of beneficial bacteria, such as Lactobacillus and Faecalibacterium, and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), in particular butyric acid. SCFAs are metabolites produced by the intestinal tract and are used as an energy source for colonic cells and other important bodily functions. Selenium nanoparticles had no significant effect on live weight gain or abundance of potentially pathogenic bacteria.
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We wish to acknowledge and appreciate the help provided by Jason Bell in all aspects of high performance computing. We also thank Giselle Weegenaar, Judy Couper, Stephen Baldwin and Ingrid Christensen for their assistance in the animal trial and molecular methods. DS is an ARC DECRA fellow.
This research was funded by the Poultry CRC, established under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Animal ethics approvals were obtained from the Animal Ethics Committee at Central Queensland University with the approval number A15/07-333.
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Gangadoo, S., Dinev, I., Chapman, J. et al. Selenium nanoparticles in poultry feed modify gut microbiota and increase abundance of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii . Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 102, 1455–1466 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-017-8688-4
- Intestinal microbiota
- Faecalibacterium prausnitzii