Lin J, Hunkapiller AA, Layton AC, Yun-Juan C, Robbins KR
Antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) have been used as feed additives to improve average daily weight gain and feed efficiency in food animals for more than five decades. However, use of AGPs is associated with the emergence of antibiotic-resistant human pathogens of animal origin, posing a significant threat to food safety and public health. Thus, development of novel alternatives to AGPs is important to mitigate antimicrobial resistance in foodborne pathogens. To achieve this goal, the mode of action of AGPs should be elucidated. In this study, the response of the chicken gut microbiota to AGPs was examined using two culture-independent approaches: phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) biomarker analysis and 16S rDNA clone library sequencing. PLFA analysis showed that AGP tylosin treatment changed composition of the microbiota in various intestinal sites; however, total viable bacterial biomass in intestine was not affected by tylosin treatment. PLFA analysis also revealed an abundant viable fungal population in chicken microbiota. Eight 16S rDNA libraries (96 clones per library) were constructed using ileal samples from chickens that received either antibiotic-free or medicated feed. The 16S rDNA clone analysis of the growth-relevant samples showed the AGP treatment influenced the diversity of ileum microbiota in the chickens primarily in the Firmicutes division. In particular, Lactobacillus spp. populations in the ileum of AGP-treated chickens were significantly lower than those from chickens receiving antibiotic-free feed. Together, this study revealed novel features of the intestinal microbiota in response to AGP treatment and suggested approach to develop potential alternatives to AGPs for mitigation of antimicrobial resistance in foodborne pathogens.
Lin J, Hunkapiller AA, Layton AC, Yun-Juan C, Robbins KR. 2013. Response of intestinal microbiota to antibiotic growth promoters in chickens. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease 10:331-337.