Modulation of beneficial gut microbiota in poultry by photoperiod and monochromatic lighting
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It has been well documented that microbiota acquired in early life plays an outsized role in establishing the gut health trajectory in later life. Therefore, approaches to manipulate and "seed" the early gut microbiota, including probiotic usage, have been of great interest. To date, no cost-effective microbiota-modulators have been discovered that can replace antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs). Furthermore, future solutions need to consider both human health concerns (antibiotic-resistant strains), and social considerations (ethical treatment of animals, welfare) even as we strive towards sustainable animal production.Therefore, there is a desperate need for solutions that offer scientifically-backed solutions that are economical and scalable. Modulation of the gut microbiota colonization by photoperiods, or using monochromatic light is, therefore, potentially important and crucial avenues. And especially if gut microbiota profiles modulated this way can be used as a means to control or influence the outcomes of intestinal infections, such as necrotic enteritis.In our previous work, we showed that chicken raised under different photoperiods acquire significantly different microbiota. However, that study only examined the first three weeks of life - a period where colonization of the gut is ongoing. However, our previous work did not answer whether such differences in microbiota are sustained beyond the early life, colonization period and if so whether they translate into benefits for fighting against intestinal pathogens. In this current study, we will compare the trajectories of broiler gut microbiota beyond the first three weeks and will span almost the entire life of modern broilers leading up to slaughter (7-8 weeks).