The Effects of Probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri Pg4 Strain on Intestinal Characteristics and Performance in Broilers

  • Yu, B. (Department of Animal Science, National Chung-Hsing University) ;
  • Liu, J.R. (Institute of Biotechnology, National Taiwan University) ;
  • Chiou, M.Y. (Department of Animal Science, National Chung-Hsing University) ;
  • Hsu, Y.R. (Department of Animal Science, National Chung-Hsing University) ;
  • Chiou, W.S. (Department of Animal Science, National Chung-Hsing University)
  • Received : 2006.08.10
  • Accepted : 2007.04.03
  • Published : 2007.08.01


This study was conducted to evaluate the feasibility of using L. reuteri Pg4, a strain isolated from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of healthy broilers, as a probiotic. In preliminary in vitro studies the Pg4 strain was proven capable of tolerating acid and bile salts, inhibiting pathogenic bacteria and can adhere to intestinal epithelial cells. The probiotic properties were then evaluated on the basis of the broiler's growth performance, intestinal microbial population and cecal volatile fatty acid and lactic acid concentrations under conventional feeding. Dietary supplementation of dried L. reuteri Pg4 decreased significantly feed intake in grower chickens and improved significantly the feed conversion by 5% in a 0-6 weeks feeding period compared with the control group. The Lactobacillus counts in the crop, ileum, and cecum of the probiotic group were higher than in the control group. The L. reuteri Pg4 strain was traceable in the GI tract of probiotic supplemented chicks and showed capability of survival in the intestine for a protracted period. The probiotic group had a higher lactic acid concentration and lower pH value in the cecum than the control chicks. Probiotic supplement also affected the histology of the intestinal mucosa of chicks. The present findings demonstrated that L. reuteri Pg4 possesses probiotic characteristics and it is suggested, therefore, that the organism could be a candidate for a new probiotic strain.


Supported by : ROC


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