Early colonization by beneficial bacteria stimulates the function and development of the digestive tract, on which the performance and vitality of broilers rely. This experiment evaluated the effects of in ovo injection of bifidobacteria on the performance, thyroid activity, bacterial enumeration, and ileal histomorphometry of broiler chickens. A total of 360 fertile eggs were inoculated into the yolk sac, on day 17 of embryogenesis, and allocated to six experimental groups: negative control (not injected, G1), positive control (injected with sterilized distilled water, G2), and groups inoculated with 2 × 108 CFU of Bifidobacterium bifidum, G3; B. animalis, G4; B. longum, G5; or B. infantis, G6. The results revealed an increase (P < 0.01) in body weight and weight gain in all treated groups increases of at least 5.38 and 8.27%, respectively, compared with the control. Feed consumption was not affected during all experimental periods, while the feed conversion ratio (FCR) was enhanced (P < 0.01) only for the overall experimental period (1–28 days of age). The G3 birds recorded the lowest FCR (1.38), while the highest was observed in G1 birds (1.57). Serum concentrations of thyroxin and triiodothyronine were elevated (P < 0.05) with probiotic inoculation. The antioxidant status and immune response of bifidobacteria injected birds were improved; the serum contents of superoxide dismutase and immunoglobulins Y, M, and A were increased (P < 0.05 and P < 0.01), while the malondialdehyde content was decreased (P < 0.01). Ileal architecture was improved in the bifidobacteria treated groups; the highest values of villus height and the villus height/crypt depth ratio were recorded in G3 (936.6 and 11.80) compared with those of G1 (537.1 and 6.93). Moreover, ileal lactic acid bacteria and Bifidobacterium spp. counts increased by at least 10.64 and 51.75%, while total coliform and bacterial counts reduced by at least 15.46 and 15.18%, respectively, compared with those of the control. In conclusion, all tested strains of bifidobacteria enhanced broiler growth performance, ileal function, and thyroid hormone metabolism without obvious differences among them.
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The authors acknowledge the Biological Application Department, Nuclear Research Center, Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority, Desert Research Center, Cairo, Egypt, and Poultry Production Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Ain Shams University, Egypt, for their cooperation.
The current study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Local Experimental Animals Care Committee, Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority (Number 6/2018EC).
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Abdel-Moneim, AM.E., Elbaz, A.M., Khidr, R.ES. et al. Effect of in Ovo Inoculation of Bifidobacterium spp. on Growth Performance, Thyroid Activity, Ileum Histomorphometry, and Microbial Enumeration of Broilers. Probiotics & Antimicro. Prot. 12, 873–882 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12602-019-09613-x
- Thyroid activity
- Ileal histomorphometry
- Bacterial population