Role of biotechnology in poultry nutrition

Sheza Farooq1, Shumaila Taskeen2, Zarzoliani3, HarpreetKour4, Sanmeet Kour5

1 PhD Scholar, Department of Animal Biotechnology, CoABT, GADVASU
2PhD Scholar, Department of Veterinary Public Health and Epidemiology, GADVASU
3PhD Scholar, Department of Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology, GADVASU
4PhD Scholar, Department of Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology, GADVASU
5PhD Scholar, Department of Veterinary Microbiology, GADVASU


In view of population explosion worldwide coupled with eruption of nuclear family concept, there has been a tremendous pressure on agricultural land which gets shrunk with every passing day. Additionally, as climatic change continues to reduce our productivity and output levels, there is increased competition for food between humans and animals, particularly for poultry diets, which are also used for human nutrition. As a result, there are only a few good feed resources available, which drive up the cost of poultry feed. Together, these factors make it necessary to address the current and upcoming issues in the sector. Currently, the use of modern biotechnology is focused on improvingpoultry nutrition and modifying the genes of feed, which includes antibiotics, probiotics, prebiotics, and enzymes, as well as the engineering the micro flora and enzymes of birds.


In the past, a variety of antibiotic growth promoters were added to chicken feed with the goal of preventing diseases, enhancing growth, and boosting beneficial microorganisms in the intestinal micro biota. The intestine microbial population is involved in the mechanism of action of antibiotics as growth promoters.Researchers have been looking into alternatives to antibiotics that interact with the intestinal micro biota, such as probiotics, prebiotics, and enzymes, as well as acidification of diets, in response to the rise of microbes that are resistant to antibiotics. Additionally, essential oils (EOs), plant extracts, and herbs, are receiving more and more attention these days.


Feeding enzymes to chickens is one of the most important nutritional advancements in the last 50 years. Not all food ingredients are broken down in monogastric animals like pigs and poultry. In order to improve the performance, diets now routinely incorporate enzyme supplements. Due to current biotechnology breakthroughs, enzymes are now produced in large quantities and at a reasonable cost. Phytases, proteases, lipases, galactosidase, and cellulose are a few enzymes that have lately been employed or may one day be used in the feed industry.

Adding cellulose to barley and sorghum-based diets improves broiler performance and reduces litter problems. Recently, there has been a lot of interest in the use of phytase as a feed additive because it not only increases the amount of phosphate accessible to plants but also reduces environmental pollution. Similar to this, by dissolving the plant cell walls, cellulase can improve the availability of proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates. The addition of cellulase to poultry feed increased growth rates by 5–10% and feed conversion ratios by 10%. The feed industry is currently testing various other enzyme products, such as protease to enhance protein digestion, lipases to enhance lipid digestion, ß-galactosidases to mitigate some anti-nutritive elements in non-cereal feedstuffs, and amylase to aid early-weaned animals in digesting their food.

Essential Oils (EOs)

The EOs are a combination of aromatic and volatile substances that are typically derived from plants. In the production of broilers, the EOs can be employed alone or in combination as a growth booster. Numerous researches have indicated that dietary EO has beneficial effects on body weight gain. Turmeric supplementation has also been shown to boost the birds’ immune systems and serum antioxidant levels.


A probiotic is described as a live microbial food supplement that enhances the intestinal microbial balance of the host animal. Foods containing probiotics are intended to promote specific good bacteria in the gut while inhibiting bad bacteria. The digestive system is initially sterile in chicken at the moment of hatching, but it quickly becomes colonised by microbes from the environment. Supplementing the poultry feed with probiotics appears to be good for the health and performance of birds raised in commercial incubators.By adhering to particular oligosaccharide receptor sites on the gut wall, pro-biotics induce competitive exclusion of harmful bacteria like E. coli. They counteract the endotoxin that pathogenic bacteria produce. When lactobacilli convert lactose to lactic acid, the pH is lowered, making it impossible for harmful bacteria to survive. Thus,the presence of immunomodulaters in the diet is connected to an effective immune response.


Prebiotics are non-digestible food (feed) components that have a positive impact on the host by selectively promoting the growth and/or activities of one or a small number of bacteria in the gut, benefiting host health.

Prebiotics interact with the physiology of animals by specifically promoting a healthy microbiota in the gut tract. This might be beneficial in lowering the prevalence of intestinal pathogens. According to some theories, one of the main functions of prebiotics is immunomodulation, which involves the selective growth of lactic acid-producing bacteria. This selective growth leads to an increase in the concentration of short chain fatty acids (SCFA), particularly butyrate, which is the preferred energy source for colonocytes and promotes gut integrity. A lower pH is linked to enhanced solubility of some nutrients and the suppression of pathogens, whereas high short chain fatty acid (SCFA) content and fermentation activity are also related.


The application of biotechnology to the feed and nutrition of chicken has advanced in increasingly beneficial ways. Low performance, low productivity, feed conversion ratio, and disease prevention difficulties have all been overcome. Applying the biotechnological breakthroughs is crucial for maximizing the utilization of feed ingredients and reducing the nitrogen and phosphorus pollution generated by chicken farming. In conclusion, careful use of modern biotechnology and ongoing innovation for efficient resource utilization leads to a successful and sustainable poultry production with decreased risk of food safety, animal welfare, and environmental damage.