How Citrus and Cucumber Supplements Affect Gut Health

Jenn Hoskins
24th May, 2024

How Citrus and Cucumber Supplements Affect Gut Health

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study took place at the University of the West of Scotland and examined the effects of citrus (CTS) and cucumber (CMB) supplements on the gut microbiota of broiler chickens
  • CTS supplements increased beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus in the jejunum and Blautia in the cecum, while reducing harmful bacteria like Enterococcus and Clostridium
  • CMB supplements had minimal impact, only slightly affecting the cecum microbiota, indicating not all natural supplements are equally effective
Recent research from the University of the West of Scotland has explored the effects of dietary supplements, specifically citrus (CTS) and cucumber (CMB), on the gut microbiota of broiler chickens at different growth stages to assess their potential as alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs)[1]. This study is significant as it addresses the growing need for natural feed additives in poultry production due to the ban on certain antibiotics, which has led to a search for effective alternatives[2]. The study focused on the jejunum and cecum, two critical sections of the chicken's gut, to determine how these supplements influence the microbial communities in these areas. Using 16S rRNA gene sequencing, the researchers found that the overall bacterial composition was significantly affected by the gut site but not by the dietary supplements themselves. However, Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA) effect size (LEfSE) revealed that CTS supplements had a notable impact on specific bacterial populations. In the jejunum, CTS supplements significantly increased the counts of Lactobacillus while decreasing the counts of Enterococcus and Clostridium. Similarly, in the cecum, CTS increased the counts of Blautia and decreased Enterococcus. These changes are important because Lactobacillus and Blautia are beneficial bacteria that enhance nutrient absorption and stimulate the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are crucial for gut health. Conversely, Enterococcus and Clostridium are potentially pathogenic bacteria whose reduction is beneficial for the overall health of the chickens. These findings align with previous studies that have highlighted the beneficial effects of Lactobacillus on the immune system and gut health. For instance, Lactobacillus salivarius has been shown to enhance antibody responses in chickens, which can improve their resistance to diseases[3]. The reduction of pathogenic bacteria like Enterococcus and Clostridium by CTS supplements further supports the idea that these natural additives can serve as effective alternatives to AGPs by promoting a healthier gut microbiota[2]. Interestingly, the study found that CMB supplements had only minor effects on the cecum and none on the jejunum, suggesting that not all natural supplements are equally effective in modulating gut microbiota. This highlights the importance of selecting the right type of supplement to achieve the desired health benefits. The research methods involved in this study were meticulous. The use of 16S rRNA gene sequencing allowed for a detailed analysis of the bacterial communities in the gut. The Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA) effect size (LEfSE) method provided a robust statistical framework to identify significant changes in bacterial populations due to the dietary supplements. These methods ensured that the findings were both accurate and reliable. In summary, this study demonstrates that CTS supplements can significantly improve gut health in broiler chickens by promoting beneficial bacteria and reducing pathogenic ones. These findings provide a strong case for the use of CTS as a natural alternative to AGPs in poultry production, aligning with the broader trend of seeking natural feed additives to improve animal health and performance[2][4]. The research from the University of the West of Scotland thus contributes valuable insights into the ongoing quest for sustainable and effective poultry nutrition strategies.

NutritionBiochemAnimal Science


Main Study

1) Measuring the impact of dietary supplementation with citrus or cucumber extract on chicken gut microbiota using 16s rRNA gene sequencing

Published 23rd May, 2024

Related Studies

2) Potential Feed Additives as Antibiotic Alternatives in Broiler Production.

3) Oral treatment of chickens with lactobacilli influences elicitation of immune responses.

4) Anti-inflammatory activity of citrus pectin on chicken monocytes' immune response.

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