Effect of zinc bacitracin and salinomycin on intestinal microflora and performance of broilers

R. M. Engberg, M.S. Hedemann, T.D. Leser, B. B. Jensen

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    A feeding experiment was carried out over 42 d with four groups of broiler chickens fed experimental diets formulated to provide no supplementation, 20 mg zinc bacitracin, 60 mg salinomycin, or both feed additives in combination. During the fifth week of the experiment, four chickens from each pen were killed, and the contents of gizzard, duodenum, jejunum, ileum, ceca, and rectum were separately collected and pooled. In all intestinal segments, the pH and the concentration of lactic acid were measured, and the numbers of anaerobic bacteria, coliforms, lactic acid bacteria, lactobacilli, enterococci, and Clostridium perfringens were counted. In homogenates of pancreas obtained from four animals, the activities of amylase, lipase, trypsin, and chymotrypsin were measured. A significant growth-promoting effect was observed in the group receiving zinc bacitracin in combination with salinomycin. Zinc bacitracin significantly reduced the number of coliform bacteria in the ileum and increased the activities of amylase and lipase in pancreas homogenates. Supplementation with salinomycin and zinc bacitracin, alone or in combination, resulted in significantly lower counts of C. perfringens as well as Lactobacillus salivarius, which was a dominant lactic acid bacterium found in broiler intestinal contents. High numbers of these lactobacilli may play a role in broiler growth depression related to competition in nutrient uptake or impaired fat absorption due to bile acid deconjugation.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPoultry Science
    Issue number9
    Pages (from-to)1311-1319
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


    • salinomycin
    • intestinal microflora
    • zinc bacitracin
    • broiler growth


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