Prebiotics in the Poultry Industry

Prebiotics in the Poultry Industry

In poultry production, bird health is greatly influenced by the microbial communities present in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and the surrounding environment (i.e., bedding). The composition and diversity of these communities fluctuate tremendously throughout a growing period and must remain balanced to ensure proper nutrition, development, and disease suppression/bird immunity. Imbalances in the microbiota (a condition known as dysbiosis) can lead to the weakening of intestinal walls in the GIT, reduced nutrient digestibility, enteritis and diarrhea, and other consequences that diminish bird performance and limit a grower’s return on investment (Shang et al. 2018). Dysbiosis is a relatively common condition and can be triggered by the following factors:

  • Nutritional imbalance
  • Poor management
  • Host genetics
  • Environmental stress
  • Increased abundance of harmful microorganisms and metabolites
  • Mycotoxins

Dr. Edgar Oviedo, Professor of Broiler Nutrition and Management at North Carolina State University, suggests that three intersecting approaches may be used to maintain equilibrium within the gut microbiome of poultry: (i) mitigation of environmental stress; (ii) avoidance of malnutrition; and (iii) inclusion of feed additives, with a growing emphasis placed on the latter (Oviedo-Rondón).

Non-antibiotic feed additives currently in the marketplace include…

  • Probiotics (live microbes)
  • Prebiotics (biomolecules that promote the growth of beneficial microbes)
  • Phytobiotics (plant-derived performance enhancers)
  • Nutritional supplements (enzymes, herb extracts, etc.)


Prebiotics are among the most intensively studied feed additives and have been proven repeatedly to positively impact the microbiota present in the GIT and fecal matter. For example, various oligosaccharides have been documented to increase the abundance of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus (beneficial bacteria) in the colon of different hosts as well as suppress pathogenic bacteria (Escherichia coli and Clostridium spp.) (Shang et al. 2018; Jung et al. 2008; Xu et al. 2003; Nywang and Gibson 1993). Additionally, carbohydrate-based prebiotics enhance nutrient digestibility, modulate intestinal tissue homeostasis, and help mitigate grower/consumer exposure to pathogens (Shang et. al 2018; Yang et al. 2009). The plethora of studies generated by the scientific community collectively demonstrates that prebiotics serve as an effective tool against dysbiosis, ensuring a balanced microbiome and continual bird health throughout a growing period.

The AgriGro® Difference...

AgriGro® is a prebiotic technology leader for agricultural use, providing a line of products that promote balanced microbial activity within the bird GIT and bed layer. Third-party research and real-world employment have demonstrated that IndigoLT® and NutriZyme®, two products offered by AgriGro®, work independently and in conjunction to increase the abundance of beneficial poultry microorganisms (i.e., Bifidobacterium), mitigate pathogens (i.e., Staphylococcus spp.), decrease mortality rate, and prevent wet litter, altogether improving flock performance and minimizing the onset of dysbiosis.

For more information about IndigoLT® and NutriZyme®, click below.



Shang Y, Kumar S, Oakley B, Kim WK. Chicken gut microbiota: importance and detection technology. Front Vet Sci. (2018) 5:254.
Oviedo-Rondón, E. Dysbacteriosis, its causes and its impact. (,%20its%20causes%20and%20its%20impact.pdf)
Jung SJ, Houde R, Baurhoo B, Zhao X, Lee BH. Effects of galactooligosaccharides and a Bifidobacteria lactis-based probiotic strain on the growth performance and fecal microflora of broiler chickens. Poult Sci. (2008) 87:1694–9.
Xu ZR, Hu CH, Xia MS, Zhan XA, Wang MQ. Effects of dietary fructooligosaccharide on digestive enzyme activities, intestinal microflora and morphology of male broilers. Poult Sci. (2003) 82:1030–6.
Nywang X, Gibson GR. Effects of the in vitro fermentation of oligofructose and inulin by bacteria growing in the human large intestine. J Appl Bacteriol. (1993) 75:373–80.
Yang Y, Iji PA, Choct M. Dietary modulation of gut microflora in broiler chickens: a review of the role of six kinds of alternatives to in-feed antibiotics. World Poult Sci J. (2009) 65:97.