OSCII Activity D.46

Fruit pomaces to improve immunity and health of organic chickens

Activity summary

Organic chicken production in Canada has grown substantially in the past decade in response to consumer demand for non-conventionally produced products. However, chicken health and food safety hazards associated with organic production from farm-to-fork remain important issues for this industry. Strategies accepted in organic production that are able to prevent necrotic enteritis induced by C. perfringens, increase resistance to the colonization of chicken by foodborne pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella, and improve the overall gut health and immunity of the birds will increase the sustainability of organic chicken production.

This proposal is strategic in the sense that different scientists in different research areas will work in a well-integrated project that will have economic, environmental, and public and animal health benefits. This work will have profound implications for fruit wastes and broiler production management, which could lead to (i) the development of risk-mitigation from farm to fork, (ii) improvements in the capacity of the fruit industry to limit the transfer of bio-contaminants to air, surface and ground water, as well as (iii) the development of a new application for the utilization of pomace.

The gut microbiota of human beings and livestock play important roles in overall health, productivity and well-being. Studies using culture-dependent methods have shown that several factors including diet, environment and host physiology influence the intestinal flora of chickens. Studies using new sequencing technologies have been conducted to elucidate the structure, dynamics and evolution of human intestinal microflora. There is still little information on the microbial community of the gut of livestock species in general, and specifically in broiler chickens with age in relation to a specific diet.

Data generated from the present project will lead to an improved understanding of bacterial community dynamics and their metabolic profile in the broiler chicken gut. In addition, it is anticipated that this study will provide new and useful information on the potential value of fruit by-products in chicken nutrition. This would enhance the competitiveness and innovation of Canada’s fruit industry by providing comprehensive information on the use of pomace in the animal production industry by (i) addressing increased public concerns about food security and safety, (ii) decreasing the losses associated with poor chicken health (currently estimated at several billion dollars annually) and, (iii) finding a new application for fruit by-products, which could be an inexpensive alternative to antibiotics.

Activity researchers

Name Affiliation

Moussa Diarra, Activity Leader

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre – Agassiz
Satinder Kaur Brar Institut national de la recherche scientifique
Pascal Delaquis Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre - Summerland
David Ehret Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre - Agassiz
Joshua Gong Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Guelph Food Research Centre
François Malouin Université de Sherbrooke
Jason McCallum Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Crops and Livestock Research Centre
Kelly Ross Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre - Summerland
Edward Topp Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Southern Crop Protection and Food Research Centre


Activity graduate students

Quail Das