2014 - 2016

Evaluation of butyrate glycerides for developing an alternative to dietary antimicrobials in poultry

Principal Investigator: Joshua Gong, Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada
Co-investigator: James Squires, University of Guelph; Steve Leeson, University of Guelph; Hai Yu, Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada; Dion Lepp, Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada
Status: Completed


To evaluate the potential of butyrate glycerides as an alternative to dietary antibiotics to enhance chicken growth performance.


There is a global migration towards the prudent use of antibiotics in food producing animals, particularly with the use for growth promotion purpose.  Developing a viable alternative to dietary antibiotics has thus become an urgent need worldwide. Butyrate has been previously shown to play an important role in animal growth and health and butyrate can offer a number of beneficial effects towards animals.  Appropriate dietary supplementation of butyrate can improve growth performance of broilers, reduce Salmonella colonization and infection to broilers and enhance host immune responses. Although very efficacious and possible to substitute for dietary antibiotics, the application of pure butyrate is limited by its offensive smell and difficulty to handle.  In addition to this, it has been shown that butyrate could be absorbed by the upper digestive tract, which would ultimately limit the delivery of a sufficient amount of butyrate to the small or large intestine to promote animal growth.  However, butyrate glycerides can release butyrate by lipase in the small intestine, thus providing  novel delivery system to the chicken gut.  Furthermore, butyrate monoglyceride has the added advantage of being water soluble. Recent studies performed by this research group has shown a moderate antimicrobial activity of butyrate glycerides towards Salmonella and Clostridium perfringens  in vitro, and that dietary supplementation with an appropriate dose of butyrate glycerides can improve feed efficiency in young birds. Therefore, the current study is to address this important parameter of butyrate glycerides as an alternative to dietary antibiotics.


$106,713 (AAFC/CPRC)

Status report coming soon.



*This research was part of the Poultry Science Cluster 2 which was supported by AAFC as part of Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

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