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News Article

Probiotic delivery of antimicrobial peptide protects against coccidiosis in chickens


Treatment is a promising alternative strategy to replace antibiotics

Researchers at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and US Biologic, Inc., have developed an oral solution to an antibiotic alternative that fights against poultry coccidiosis.

The study, published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science, showed that infected chickens that were fed a stable strain of probiotic Bacillus subtilis that carries chicken NK-lysin peptide 2 (cNK-2) to the gut did not experience the same weight loss as non-treated birds. The treated chickens also experienced improved gut health and reduced faecal oocyst shedding. These changes were not seen in birds fed with probiotics only, showing changes only occurred in the presence of cNK-2.

“This oral method will help greatly reduce the clinical impact of coccidiosis, lessen spread of the disease, and improve gut health in poultry,” said USDA-ARS Research Molecular Biologist Hyun Lillehoj. “This means that birds fed with cNK-2 will have an overall healthier gut and less disease.”

The newly developed oral product is delivered in a probiotic powder that can be mixed into current feed processes and then fed to the birds across their lifetime, without requiring additional steps or new ingredients.

“Poultry solutions must be practical and economical,” said US Biologic CSO, Dr. Jolieke G. van Oosterwijk. “Oral delivery of the cNK-2 accomplishes both goals and can lead to increased global protein sustainability and food equity.”

The USDA-ARS and US Biologic have patented the technology, and US Biologic has signed an exclusive global commercialization agreement with the goal of developing and licensing the technology for industry use.

This project was funded in part by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture under the Small Business Innovation Research Program, and in part by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.

Article: Wickramasuriya, S.S., Park, I., Lee, Y., Kim, W.H., Przybyszewski, C., Gay, C.G., van Oosterwijk, J.G., Lillehoj, H.S. (2021) Oral Delivery of Bacillus subtilis Expressing Chicken NK-2 Peptide Protects Against Eimeria acervulina Infection in Broiler Chickens. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 8:684818, doi: 10.3389/fvets.2021.684818

Article details

  • Date
  • 09 June 2021
  • Source
  • USDA
  • Subject(s)
  • Poultry