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Role of volatile fatty acids in development of the cecal microflora in broiler chickens during growth

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Author: Wielen, P.W.J.J. van der · Biesterveld, S. · Notermans, S. · Hofstra, H. · Urlings, B.A.P. · Knapen, F. van
Institution: Centraal Instituut voor Voedingsonderzoek TNO
Source:Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 6, 66, 2536-2540
Identifier: 87147
doi: doi:10.1128/AEM.66.6.2536-2540.2000
Keywords: Nutrition · Fatty acid · Bacterial growth · Bacteriostasis · Cecum · Chicken · Enterobacter · Intestine flora · Nonhuman · Strain difference · Animals · Bacteria · Cecum · Chickens · Colony Count, Microbial · Enterobacteriaceae · Enterococcus · Fatty Acids, Volatile · Hydrogen-Ion Concentration · Lactates · Lactobacillus · Bacteria (microorganisms) · Enterobacter · Enterobacteriaceae · Gallus gallus · Posibacteria


It is known that volatile fatty acids can inhibit growth of species of the family Enterobacteriaceae in vitro. However, whether these volatile fatty acids affect bacterial populations in the ceca of chickens is unknown. Therefore, a study was conducted to investigate if changes in volatile fatty acids in ceca of broiler chickens during growth affect bacterial populations. Results showed that members of the Enterobacteriaceae and enterococci are present in large numbers in 3-day-old broilers and start to decrease when broilers grow older. Lactobacilli are present in large numbers as well in 3- day-old broilers, but they remain stable during the growth of broilers. Acetate, butyrate, and propionate increase from undetectable levels in 1-day- old broilers to high concentrations in 15-day-old broilers, after which they stabilize. Significant negative correlations could be calculated between numbers of Enterobacteriaceae and concentrations of undissociated acetate, propionate, and butyrate. Furthermore, pure cultures of Enterobacteriaceae isolated from the ceca were grown in the presence of volatile fatty acids. Growth rates and maximal optical density decreased when these strains grew in the presence of increasing volatile fatty acid concentrations. It is concluded that volatile fatty acids are responsible for the reduction in numbers of Enterobacteriaceae in the ceca of broiler chickens during growth. Chemicals/CAS: Fatty Acids, Volatile; Lactates