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25 oct 2020


Development of a biomarker toolkit for the early diagnosis of gastrointestinal dysbiosis in poultry

The project

Meat from broiler chickens is one of the most sustainable sources of animal proteins and all over the world the production of broiler chickens is increasing. One of the most important challenges of the last decade in the production of broiler chickens is the evolution in the use of antibiotics and the increase of dysbiosis and illnesses that can influence the health and performances of animals.

This has led to a bigger need of biomarkers for the evaluation of intestinal health making it possible to predict disturbances of the intestinal health and/or detect them in an early stage (sub clinical). This is essential in justifying the start of an antibiotics cure on one hand and to adjust the feed strategies (feed additives) to support the intestinal health on the other hand.

Project goals

The BioMagick project aims to develop a rapid test that allows to evaluate objectively the intestinal health of broiler chickens. Specifically an immuno assay type test (ELISA or dip-stick) will be developed to detect antigens, identified in previous work, in faecal material or intestinal content.

The diagnostic value of the chosen target antigens will be validated in field samples from a big cohort of litters, in which in the ideal scenario a correlation can be found between the concentration of the target antigen and the zootechnical performance (feed conversion, increase in body weight) of the chickens.

This test could be used to justify preventive or therapeutic treatment and afterwards also evaluate the effect of the intervention. Furthermore an early detection will contribute to a better feed conversion, higher final weight and thus result in higher economic margins.

Participating partners

  • UGent: Prof. Filip Van Immerseel

For more info about this project you can contact Kaat Verplanken.


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9000 Gent