Necrotic enteritis challenge and high dietary sodium level affect odorant composition or emission from broilers

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Necrotic enteritis (NE) challenge and high dietary sodium (from sodium chloride) level on odor flux from broiler litter was investigated using 160 day-old Ross 308 male chicks randomly assigned to 4 dietary treatments with 4 replicates of 10 birds each. A 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments was employed. Factors were: presence or absence of NE challenge and normal (1.6 g/kg) or high (4.0 g/kg) dietary sodium (Na) level. On d 20, odorants were collected from litter headspace with a flux hood and measured using selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry (SIFT-MS). On d 33, while challenge did not lead to higher mortality, it reduced feed intake by 5.48% (P < 0.05) and body weight gain by 9.02% (P < 0.01) and worsened FCR by 5 points (P < 0.01), indicating subclinical necrotic enteritis occurred in challenged birds. Challenge increased (P < 0.01) litter moisture and litter headspace concentrations of dimethyl sulfide (P < 0.05), propyl mercaptan (P < 0.05), total butanols (P < 0.05), acetoin (P < 0.01), skatole (P = 0.05), butyric acid (P < 0.05), and methyl amine (P < 0.05) and tended to increase concentrations of ethyl mercaptan (P = 0.07), carbon disulfide (P = 0.09), indole (P = 0.10), and formic acid (P = 0.10) compared to the unchallenged group. The birds fed a high Na diet produced higher litter moisture (P < 0.01) and higher litter headspace concentration of sulfur compounds and phenol (P < 0.01) compared to those fed a normal Na diet. In the birds fed a high Na diet, challenge increased the litter flux of some additional odorants, which included 2,3-butanedione (P < 0.05), acetic acid (P < 0.01), propionic acid (P < 0.01), isobutyric acid (P < 0.01), isovaleric acid (P < 0.01), pentanoic acid (P < 0.05), 2-butanone (P < 0.05), and 3-methyl-1-butanol (P < 0.05). These findings suggest that both a high Na diet and sub-clinical NE increase the odor nuisance potential of broiler farms.

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