The physiological response of broiler chickens to the dietary supplementation of the bacteriocin nisin and ionophore coccidiostats

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The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of dietary supplementation with nisin alone or in combination with salinomycin or monensin on broiler chickens in terms of growth performance, selected blood parameters, digestive enzyme activity, apparent nutrient digestibility, and tibiotarsus mineralization, as well as selected gastrointestinal tract (GIT) organ weights, intestinal length, and central immune organ weights. Two independent experiments, each including 400 one-day-old female Ross 308 chicks differing in ionophore coccidiostats, i.e., salinomycin and monensin supplementation, were conducted. The following treatments were applied: experiment 1: NA—no additives, SAL—salinomycin (60 mg/kg diet), NIS—nisin (2,700 IU/kg diet), SAL+NIS—salinomycin (60 mg/kg diet) and nisin (2,700 IU/kg diet); experiment 2: NA—no additives, MON—monensin (100 mg/kg diet), NIS—nisin (2,700 IU/kg diet) and MON+NIS—monensin (100 mg/kg diet) and nisin (2,700 IU/kg diet). The addition of nisin with or without ionophores to the birds' diet improved broiler growth performance in terms of BWG and FCR (days 1 to 14) and BWG and FI (15 to 35 d; 1 to 35 d). Salinomycin showed effects similar to those of nisin influence on growth performance (1 to 35 d), while monensin supplementation resulted in lower BWG. Moreover, no additive effect between nisin and ionophores was observed. Nisin and salinomycin had no influence on the serum concentration of selected hormones and other blood biochemical parameters except glucose, which was reduced by nisin. A decrease in lipase activity was observed during nisin and salinomycin supplementation, while the apparent ileal digestibility of fat was not affected. However, the digestibility of crude protein increased with nisin administration. Additionally, the effects of nisin on decreasing the weight and length of GIT segments were observed. Supplementation with nisin and monensin was not associated with a negative impact on tibiotarsus mineralization and the immune organ index. This study suggests that nisin may be used in broiler nutrition as a growth promotor, with no negative influence on the bird's metabolism or immune status.

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