- Press Release Distribution

Illinois study: Supporting disease-challenged broiler chickens through nutrition

Illinois study: Supporting disease-challenged broiler chickens through nutrition
( URBANA, Ill. — When broiler chickens are busy fighting the parasitic infection coccidiosis, they can’t absorb nutrients efficiently or put energy toward growth. With consumer sentiment pitted against antimicrobials and other drugs, producers still have some options to ensure optimal growth during inevitable outbreaks. New research from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign suggests diet changes might help. 

“Vaccines and anticoccidials are the traditional ways to prevent this disease. Nutrition can't replace all of the pharmaceuticals, but it can be supportive in providing care,” said senior study author Ryan Dilger, professor in the Department of Animal Sciences, part of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) at U. of I. 

Standard poultry diets have been carefully formulated to provide for the nutritional requirements of healthy birds, but diets had never been holistically optimized for disease-challenged broilers. Dilger and doctoral student Julianna Jespersen set out to fill that gap. 

“Using nutrition to support healthy poultry has been a hot topic for 50-plus years. The novelty in our approach is to look at all the major nutrients simultaneously, rather than looking at them individually,” Dilger said. “That’s information producers can use.”

In two studies, both published in Poultry Science, the research team induced coccidiosis, and then altered the diet to understand the roles of various ingredients. In the first study, the team adjusted the starch, oil, and amino acid content of the classic broiler diet and monitored body weight gain and feed conversion ratio.

“If you visualize a triangle, the three points represent diets with the highest starch, oil, and amino acid content,” Jespersen explained. “We used varying proportions of those three ingredients to mix 10 experimental diets, one being a control diet with an equal proportion of each ingredient.”

The optimal diet mix — the diet leading to the highest body weight gain in coccidiosis-challenged birds — consisted of 35.8% starch, 8.9% oil, and 101.3% of recommended amino acids relative to the control diet. 

The researchers acknowledge 9% oil inclusion is well above practical levels for the industry. 

“That level of oil is going to be hard for producers to fathom. But previous research from our lab has shown this parasite reduces lipid absorption in the gastrointestinal tract, so the birds can't get as much energy or lipid components out of the diet,” Dilger said. “We think that's why we found optimal results at 9%. Producers might look at that and laugh, but the bird is telling us why it should be that high for optimizing outcomes in disease-challenged birds.”

Jespersen says although it may not be feasible to include oil at 9%, the results show that increasing oil to any level above the usual 1% should be beneficial. 

A second study looked specifically at optimal levels of methionine for coccidiosis-challenged broilers. As the first limiting amino acid, methionine levels dictate the overall growth of the bird. 

“Unless methionine is supplied at adequate levels, it doesn’t matter how much of the other amino acids are in the diet,” Jespersen explained.

Again, methionine inclusion levels have been determined for healthy chickens, but little was known about how much of the amino acid is needed in disease-challenged birds. The research team tested a diet with methionine levels 15% below, equivalent to, and 15% above that of a standard diet for healthy birds. The data showed that bumping methionine up from 15% below to the equivalent amount was beneficial, and suggested that more was even better. However, the results were statistically inconclusive.

“We did not actually determine what the methionine requirement was for infected birds in this experiment, but we found evidence that the methionine requirement does increase during a coccidiosis infection,” Jespersen said. “Knowing that most broilers are going to be exposed to this infection during their growth cycle, we're recommending that we bump up methionine. We still need to do more research to determine the exact level.”

Dilger says coccidiosis is a fact of life for broiler production. Birds walk on the ground and will inevitably ingest parasites, which start to propagate in their intestines. 

“One parasite becomes two, becomes four, and then they excrete them out and other birds pick them up. They're always cycling in this way,” he said. “We’re hoping producers will use what we’ve learned here about nutrition to help broilers combat infection and keep growing.”  

The first study, “Defining optimal dietary starch, oil, and amino acid inclusion levels for broilers experiencing a coccidiosis challenge,” is published in Poultry Science [DOI: 10.1016/j.psj.2023.103335]. The second study, “Effects of a coccidiosis challenge on dietary methionine recommendations in broilers,” is also published in Poultry Science [DOI: 10.1016/j.psj.2024.103502]. This research was sponsored by Evonik Operations, Nutrition & Care.


[Attachments] See images for this press release:
Illinois study: Supporting disease-challenged broiler chickens through nutrition


Communities severed by roads and traffic experience a larger number of collisions in New York City

March 4, 2024- New York City neighborhoods with disrupted community connections, due to traffic, roads, and transport infrastructure, are experiencing an increase in traffic collisions. This increase is seen both in total collisions and for those in which pedestrians or cyclists are injured or killed, according to a new study from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. The findings are reported in the journal Environment International. “Despite recent remarkable progress, road safety remains an urgent urban issue in New York and other U.S. cities. It is important to understand how the spatial configuration of the city enhances ...

Study shows new class of antivirals that works against SARS-CoV-2

EDMONTON — A University of Alberta research team has uncovered a new class of drugs with the potential to prevent or treat infections in a future viral outbreak. In the paper, published this week in Nature, the team reports that SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — activates a pathway in cells that stops the production of peroxisomes and interferon, key parts of the normal immune response. The team successfully tested a new class of antiviral drugs that stimulate interferon production to reverse that effect. Tom ...

Cost of direct air carbon capture to remain higher than hoped

Switzerland plans to reduce its net carbon emissions to zero by no later than 2050. To achieve this, it will need to drastically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. In its climate strategy, the Swiss government acknowledges that some of these emissions, particularly in agriculture and industry, are difficult or impossible to avoid. Swiss climate policy therefore envisages actively removing 5 million tonnes of CO2 from the air and permanently storing it underground. By way of comparison, the Intergovernmental ...

Unraveling the mystery of chiton visual systems

Unraveling the mystery of chiton visual systems
(Santa Barbara, Calif.) — You’d probably walk past a chiton without even seeing it. These creatures often look like nothing more than another speck of seaweed on the crusty intertidal rocks. But it sees you. At least, if it’s one of the species with eyes dotting its platemail shell. A team of scientists — led by Rebecca Varney at UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology (EEMB) — discovered that some of these tough mollusks sport the most recently evolved eyes with a lens. What’s more, the ...

Case Western Reserve University-led research team discovers new method to test for oral cancer

Case Western Reserve University-led research team discovers new method to test for oral cancer
CLEVELAND—Oral cancers and precancerous mouth lesions are considered especially difficult to diagnose early and accurately. For one, biopsies are expensive, invasive, stressful for the patient and can lead to complications. They’re also not feasible if repeated screenings of the same lesion are required. But a team of researchers, led by a clinician scientist at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, has discovered a noninvasive, low-cost test to detect oral cancer, monitor precancerous lesions and determine when a biopsy is warranted. Their findings, published ...

Firearm access and gun violence exposure are common in Black and native communities

A  New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center study is the first to provide nationally representative data on gun use, storage and violence within Black and American Indian/Alaskan Native (AIAN) families. Both Black and native communities have seen increasingly elevated rates of gun violence victimization, including homicide and suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In recent years, minorities have become more represented among new firearm owners. Despite this, research on firearm access, storage and use has focused on samples of white adults. This prevents understanding the access Black and native individuals have to firearms, whether they are stored ...

New AI smartphone tool accurately diagnoses ear infections

New AI smartphone tool accurately diagnoses ear infections
A new cellphone app developed by physician-scientists at UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to accurately diagnose ear infections, or acute otitis media (AOM), could help decrease unnecessary antibiotic use in young children, according to new research published today in JAMA Pediatrics. AOM is one of the most common childhood infections for which antibiotics are prescribed but can be difficult to discern from other ear conditions without intensive training. The new AI tool, which makes a diagnosis by assessing ...

Screen time and parent-child talk when children are ages 12 to 36 months

About The Study: This study found a negative association between screen time and measures of parent-child talk when children are 12 to 36 months of age. For every additional minute of screen time, children heard fewer adult words, spoke fewer vocalizations, and engaged in fewer back-and-forth interactions. Interventions aiming to promote early use of language should include support to manage screen time.  Authors: Mary E. Brushe, Ph.D., of the University of Western Australia in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, is the corresponding author. To access the embargoed study: Visit our For The Media website at this link (doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2023.6790) Editor’s ...

Firearm access and gun violence exposure among American Indian or Alaska native and Black adults

About The Study: In this nationally representative survey study of 3,542 American Indian or Alaska Native and Black U.S. adults, a substantial percentage of both groups reported living in homes with firearms, storing firearms loaded and unlocked, frequently carrying firearms outside the home, and having been exposed directly and indirectly to gun violence. These findings underscore the need for nuanced public health campaigns and policies and highlight challenges for law enforcement in contexts of racial disparities ...

Associations of medical debt with health status, premature death, and mortality in the US

About The Study: The findings of this study of 2,943 counties suggest that medical debt is associated with worse health status, more premature deaths, and higher mortality rates at the county level in the U.S. Therefore, policies increasing access to affordable health care, such as expanding health insurance coverage, may improve population health.  Authors: Xuesong Han, Ph.D., of the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, is the corresponding author.  To access the embargoed ...


New Inflammatory Bowel Disease testing protocol could speed up diagnosis

Most massive stellar black hole in our galaxy found

New review offers first recommendations on accurately assessing the carbon footprint of coffee farming

Seed ferns: Plants experimented with complex leaf vein networks 201 million years ago

New statewide research reveals the staggering economic cost of intimate partner violence in Louisiana

From ashes to adversity: Lessons from South Australia's business recovery amidst bushfires and pandemic

Multiple pollutants from crop and livestock production in the Yangtze River: status and challenges

Unraveling the unique role of DELLA proteins in grapevine flowering: A shift in developmental fate

Next-generation treatments hitch a ride into cancer cells

Unraveling the role of DlBGAL9 and AGL61/80 in Longan somatic embryogenesis and heat stress tolerance: A multi-omics approach

Decoding pecan pollination: A dive into the chloroplast genome of 'Xinxuan-4' and its impact on cultivar diversity and efficiency

KD-crowd: A knowledge distillation framework for learning from crowds

Can animals count?

Australian media need generative AI policies to help navigate misinformation and disinformation

Illuminating the path to hearing recovery

Unlocking the secrets of fruit quality: How anthocyanins and acidity shape consumer preferences and market value

Evidence for reversible oxygen ion movement during electrical pulsing: enabler of the emerging ferroelectricity in binary oxides

Revolutionizing Citrus cultivation: The superior tolerance and growth vigor of 'Shuzhen No.1' rootstock

Family and media pressure to lose weight in adolescence linked to how people value themselves almost two decades later

Despite the desire to reduce the risk of imitation, new research suggests startups should scale slowly and steadily

The Lancet: Many people with breast cancer ‘systematically left behind’ due to inaction on inequities and hidden suffering

From opioid overdose to treatment initiation: outcomes associated with peer support in emergency departments

NIH awards $3.4 million to Wayne State University to investigate biomarkers for better reproductive success

New study shows corporate misconduct at home hurts sales overseas

Take it from the rats: A junk food diet can cause long-term damage to adolescent brains

Fralin Biomedical Research Institute team unpacking genetic mysteries of childhood epilepsies

UNC-Chapel Hill researchers discover new clues to how tardigrades can survive intense radiation

UT Arlington prioritizes entrepreneurship efforts

Ochsner Health receives 2024 Top Workplaces Culture Excellence Awards

Are these newly found rare cells a missing link in color perception?

[] Illinois study: Supporting disease-challenged broiler chickens through nutrition