Mitigation of intestinal inflammation for poultry and production health

Principal Investigator

Doug Inglis, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Year the work was done


Overall objective

  • 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.

Specific objectives

  • Adapt novel enteric formulation and delivery strategies to effectively deliver BaMs to the ceca and colon of chickens.
  • Isolate and characterize diverse non-pathogenic autochthonous bacteria (i.e. intestinal residents) from inflamed intestine that have a propensity to colonize inflamed tissue.
  • Utilize autochthonous bacteria to ameliorate chronic and acute inflammation.
  • Engineer select autochthonous bacteria to secrete BaMs (i.e. anti-inflammatory agents) at the site of inflammation.


  • Development of a model of acute necrotic enteritis (NE) in broiler chickens.
  • Determination that stress is a major predisposing factor determining the onset and severity of NE.
  • Effective mitigation of NE in broiler chickens using microbiota transplantation (i.e., “poopulation”) to modulate the intestinal microbiota and host immune responses.
  • Successful establishment of a salmonellosis model of enteric inflammation in broiler chickens including the identification of relative metrics; the model is currently being used to evaluate novel mitigations including the efficacy of BaMs.
  • Characterization of the intestinal microbiota of broiler chickens, including the colonic microbiota.
  • Identification of biomarkers in chicken tissues subjected to defined physiological stress as well as simulated production stressors.
  • Determination that feather pulp is sensitive to biological factors indicating that pulp can be practically utilized to ascertain the impacts of stress, important for monitoring and optimizing bird health, including within production settings.
  • Examination of host defense peptide (HDP) mimics as a non-antibiotic alternatives for disease mitigation.
  • Elucidation of the impact of orally administered HDP mimics on the enteric microbiota, and on the growth, immune system, and metabolome of broiler chickens (i.e., as a non-antibiotic AGP).
  • Comparative evaluation of the conventional AGP, virginiamycin, on the enteric microbiota, and on the growth, immune system, and metabolome of broiler chickens.
  • Determination of the impact of microbiota transplantation (i.e., “poopulation”) on the enteric microbiota, and on the growth, immune system, and metabolome of broiler chickens as a non-antibiotic AGP.
  • Advancement of the novel anti-inflammatory drug delivery technology termed “GlycoCage”.
  • Successful engineering of Lactococcus lactis to secrete BaMs, including HDPs, and commencement of studies to ascertain BaM delivery and efficacy in chickens.


  • This research will help with novel and non-antibiotic innovations to reduce chronic and acute enteric inflammation in chickens and enhance the sustainability of the Canadian poultry sector.

This research applies to

Breeders, Broilers, Layers, Turkeys

This research was supported by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and Alberta Chicken Producers.