Animals, Vol. 11, Pages 2819: Effect of Insect Live Larvae as Environmental Enrichment on Poultry Gut Health: Gut Mucin Composition, Microbiota and Local Immune Response Evaluation
Animals doi: 10.3390/ani11102819
Sara Bellezza Oddon
Maria Teresa Capucchio
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of Hermetia illucens (HI) and Tenebrio molitor (TM) live larvae as environmental enrichment on the mucin composition, local immune response and microbiota of broilers. A total of 180 four-day-old male broiler chickens (Ross 308) were randomly allotted to three dietary treatments (six replicates/treatment; ten animals/replicate): (i) control (C); (ii) C+HI; (iii) C+TM. Live larvae were distributed based on 5% of the expected daily feed intake. At slaughter (39 days of age), samples of duodenum, jejunum and ileum (twelve animals/diet) were submitted to mucin histochemical evaluation. Expression of MUC-2 and cytokines was evaluated by rt-qPCR in jejunum. Mucin staining intensity was not influenced by diet (p &gt; 0.05); however, this varied depending on the intestinal segment (p &lt; 0.001). No significant differences were recorded for IL-4, IL-6 TNF-α, MUC-2 and INF-γ gene expression in jejunum, while IL-2 was lower in the TM group compared to HI and C (p = 0.044). Caecal microbiota showed higher abundance of Clostridium, Saccharibacteria and Victivallaceae in the HI group, while Collinsella was higher in the TM group. The results suggested that live insect larvae did not impair mucin composition or local immune response, and can slightly improve caecal microbiota by enhancing a minor fraction of short chain fatty acid-producing taxa.
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