by Lallemand, Canada


A study published in Poultry Science (Mikulski et al., 2020) shows the positive effect of the probiotic strain Pediococcus acidilactici CNCM I-4622 (MA 18/5M)[1] (BACTOCELL) on dietary energy utilisation in laying hens. The study indicated that the probiotic was able to compensate for the effect of a 100kcal ME/kg of feed energy dilution on laying performance. Authors suggested that the probiotic supplement exerts a positive influence on the dietary energy utilisation, increasing the feed efficiency in laying hens.

Energy being a major driver of feed costs in poultry production, these new findings bring egg producers and nutritionists a new tool to manage production costs. The publication concluded that Pediococcus acidilactici CNCM I-4622 supplementation on a reduced-energy diet can be a viable strategy for lowering feed cost while maintaining laying performance and egg quality.

The study was conducted at Olzstyn University, Poland, in order to determine the effects of probiotic supplementation in diets with different energy levels for laying hen productive performance. As a model, 100 kcal ME/kg of feed energy density reduction was tested. The experimental diets were formulated to contain respectively 2,550 and 2,650 kcal ME/kg of feed and equal amounts of amino acids and minerals. The trial involved 200 31-week-old Hy Line Brown hens and lasted for 16 weeks.

Despite a 100 kcal ME/kg of feed difference, both groups displayed a similar laying rate, equivalent feed conversion rate (FCR) and exported egg mass. The concept of bioequivalence has been applied to evaluate the combined effect of the dietary energy dilution and the supplementation of P. acidilactici CNCM I-4622 on hens' productive performance.

Bioequivalence is defined by EFSA (2018) as follows, 'if two products are said to be bioequivalent, it means that they would be expected to be, for all relevant effects, the same.' The bioequivalence concept applied to hens' performance criteria indicates that hens receiving P. acidilactici CNCM I-4622 with a reduced-energy diet show bioequivalent performance to hens from the standard energy diet without probiotics.

In addition, eggs from the probiotic and reduced energy diet group showed similar eggshell thickness than eggs from the control and standard energy diet groups. This suggests that probiotic supplementation is able to compensate for the effects of energy dilution (-100 kcal ME/kg of feed) on laying hen production performance.

Eventually, when comparing the effects of probiotics with equivalent diets (same energy levels), it appears that hens fed the probiotic diet repeatedly provide better productive performance than hens without the probiotic (p<0.05). This corroborates previous findings when the probiotic is supplemented on top of the diet and has shown beneficial and consistent effects on both the laying rate and the feed efficiency.

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