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Researcher hatches new way to boost chicken health, backed by $360,000 ARC grant

Published:30 October 2015

Dr Dana Stanley

Providing beneficial strains of friendly gut bacteria at the time of hatching could improve poultry health and performance.

That's according to CQUniversity's Dr Dana Stanley who has gained $360,000 over the next three years in a competitive bid to the Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) process of the Australian Research Council.

The Rockhampton-based researcher aims to improve poultry health and performance through microbiota manipulations.

"The project aims to develop methods to modulate microbiota to improve poultry health and productivity and reduce the need for antibiotics," Dr Stanley says.

"Probiotic administration is currently the only way in agriculture to restore imbalanced intestinal microbiota.

"Recent research shows that intestinal microbiota resist all new-coming bacteria and remove them from the intestinal environment.

"The initial inoculum at the time of birth shapes the gut microbiota for life and has the strongest influence on development of the immune system.

"Accordingly, at-hatch administration of proven beneficial strains to poultry is likely to ensure permanent colonisation with beneficial bacteria.

"This process would improve both the productivity and health of poultry and other agricultural animals."