de Oliveira JE, van der Hoeven-Hangoor E, van de Linde IB, Montijn RC, van der Vossen JM
The feasibility of establishing probiotic bacteria in the intestine of broiler chickens by in ovo inoculation was investigated, followed by verifying possible subsequent protection against Salmonella Enteriditis infection. In a first study, 7 commercially available probiotics were screened for compatibility with in ovo inoculation. Two of these probiotics, one being a Enterococcus faecium and the other a Bacillus subtilis, were selected for colonizing the chick gut without compromising hatchability. In a second study, these 2 products were administered in ovo and in the feed to chicks reared until 18 d in comparison with noninoculated chicks and with chicks fed an antibiotic. All chicks were orally challenged with Salmonella Enteritidis at 4 d of age. Results showed reduced performance of Salmonella Enteritidis challenged chicks fed no additives compared with challenged chicks fed antibiotic, but no significant differences in mortality was observed. Probiotics offered in ovo or through the diet could only partially recover performance compared with antibiotic-fed chicks. A significant reduction in the number of Salmonella Enteritidis positive chicks was observed when chicks were in ovo inoculated with E. faecium and continued receiving it in the diet. This work establishes standards for future in ovo colonization research and emphasizes its value as a promising method to deliver individual precise dose of probiotics to poultry in mass scale at the earliest possible age based on the competitive exclusion concept. In ovo colonization with probiotic can therefore become an important ally in combination with other approaches to combat Salmonella and other intestinal bacterial infections in poultry.