2018 - 2023

Mitigation of intestinal inflammation for poultry and production health

Principal Investigator: Douglas Inglis, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Status: In progress


The research intends to select, formulate, and deliver anti-inflammatory bioactive molecules in vitro and in vivo in an effort to reduce enteric inflammation in chickens and increase productivity in the absence of antibiotic growth promoters.  Specifically, they intend to:  
  1. Adapt novel enteric formulation and delivery strategies to effectively deliver BaMs to the ceca and colon of chickens,
  2. Isolate and characterize diverse non-pathogenic autochthonous bacteria (i.e. intestinal residents) from inflamed intestine that have a propensity to colonize inflamed tissue,
  3. Utilize autochthonous bacteria to ameliorate chronic and acute inflammation, and
  4. Engineer select autochthonous bacteria to secrete BaMs (i.e. anti-inflammatory agents) at the site of inflammation.


At present, the predominant strategy employed by the poultry and other livestock sectors is to target and eliminate specific pathogens. In the case of bacterial pathogens, the primary mitigation strategy is antibiotic treatment. Antimicrobial growth promoters (AGPs) are antibiotics administered in feed at non-therapeutic concentrations to enhance growth and health of birds. It has been proposed that AGPs function by modulating enteric inflammation in poultry, and our research has determined that AGPs directly ameliorate inflammation and redirect metabolic resources (i.e. nutrients) towards muscle development. Importantly, our research shows that alternatives to AGPs can function as immunomodulators (i.e. inflammation suppressants), and not as antimicrobial agents. The immunomodulation hypothesis formulated by our group asserts that intestinal inflammation is a catabolically costly process, and AGPs dampen enteric immune responses, and thus allow the bird to redirect metabolic resources to muscle development.


$516,050 (AAFC/CPRC $499,800*, Alberta Chicken Producers $16,250 (includes $6,750 In-Kind))

*This research is part of the 2018-2023 Poultry Science Cluster which is supported by AAFC as part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

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