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Journal of Immunology and Immunopathology
Year : 2011, Volume : 13, Issue : 1
First page : ( 1) Last page : ( 19)
Print ISSN : 0972-0561. Online ISSN : 0973-9149.

Applications of Probiotics in Poultry: Enhancing Immunity and Beneficial Effects on Production Performances and Health - A Review

Dhama K.1,*Senior Scientist, Verma Vinay2Senior Research Fellow, Sawant P.M.3Ph.D. Scholar, Tiwari Ruchi3Ph.D. Scholar, Vaid R.K.4Sr. Scientist, Chauhan R.S.5Director

1Avian Diseases Section, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar (U.P.) – 243 122

2Division of Pathology, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar (U.P.) – 243 122

3Immunology Section, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar (U.P.) – 243 122

4Veterinary Type Culture Collection, NRCE, Hisar 125 001 (Haryana)

5Institute of Biotechnology, G.B. Pant Univ. of Agri. & Tech. Campus Patwadangar, Nainital, INDIA

*Email id: kdhama@rediffmail.com

Online published on 2 November, 2011.


Probiotics, the novel feed or food supplements are naturally occurring beneficial live microbes including bacteria, fungi and yeasts. In general, probiotics are proven to improve the health and well being of animals, birds or human beings. As a group of growth promoters, the addition of probiotics to the diet of livestock (especially cattle and swine) and poultry has been found to improve growth performance, feed conversion efficiency, immune responses and help in combating enteric pathogens. The addition of probiotics to poultry diet also improves egg production in layers. Three basic mechanisms of probiotics include competitive exclusion of pathogenic microbes, production of antibacterial substances (e.g., bacteriocins or colicins) and immune modulation of host. Generally, live apathogenic microbial strains, singly or as multi-strain probiotics, belonging to genus Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, Bacillus, Enterococcus, Pediococcus, Aspergillus and Saccharomyces are used in poultry. The injudicious and prolific use of sub-therapeutic levels of antibiotics in animal feed to suppress or eliminate harmful organisms, and to improve growth and feed efficiency, have paved way for their presence as residues in animal by-products and have also given rise to drug resistant microorganisms. Because of public health concerns, nowadays, the use of probiotics as substitute for antibiotics in poultry production has become an area of great interest. The present article reviews the beneficial effects and potential applications of probiotics or direct fed microbial (DFM) on health and production performances in poultry.



Probiotics, Poultry, Production, Health, Immunity.


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