Activity 24

Optimization of berry by-products use in organic poultry production


Organic chicken production in Canada has grown substantially in the past decade in response to consumer demand for non-conventionally produced products. Organic poultry production standards require free range systems (outdoor access on pasture) to improve the overall health and welfare of birds. However, the outdoor access could increase exposure to environmental pathogenic bacteria of poultry health (Clostridium perfringens, avian pathogenic Escherichia coli: APEC) and food safety concerns (Campylobacter ssp and Salmonella enterica serovars), for which control remains challenging. In conventional broiler production, antimicrobial agents such as bacitracin and the ionophore salinomycin are used in feed to control necrotic enteritis due to C. perfringens and coccidiosis due to Eimeria spp., resulting in enhanced bird performance. Efficient and cost-effective methods for maintaining chicken gut health, reducing food safety risks and lessening negative environmental impacts are urgently needed for organic broiler production.

Berries are important commercial crops in Canada. We recently showed that solid wastes “pomaces” of organic berry, major by-products from juice industries; contain carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, minerals and several phenolic compounds including anthocyanins and flavonols. Our previous data showed that such pomaces in broiler diets modulated gut microbiota, enhanced blood metabolic responses and decreased the prevalence of necrotic enteritis (NE) caused by C. perfringens and coccidiosis by Eimeria spp. Extracts from these pomaces were active against antimicrobial resistant Salmonella, a major foodborne pathogen associated with poultry. Enzymes have been used to increase nutrients utilization and improve digestibility in poultry. In this proposal, we plan to optimize the observed beneficial effects of berry pomaces on production performance, gut microbiota and immunity of broiler chickens, through supplementation of pomaces with enzyme.

There is still little information on the effects of berry pomaces on chicken immunity and on the microbial community of the gut. Data generated from the present project will lead to improved understanding of bacterial community dynamics and metabolic profile in the broiler chicken fed berry by-products. In addition, this project will enhance competitiveness and innovation in Canada by: 1) decreasing losses associated with poor organic poultry health and immunity (currently estimated at several billion dollars annually); 2) decreasing negative impacts of both poultry production and berry fruit processing on the environment (wastes disposal; antibiotic residues, shedding and dissemination of pathogens or antibiotic resistant bacteria); 3) addressing increasing public concerns about food security and safety by allowing growth of organic chicken production; 4) allowing for income diversification and increased profitability for berry processors by finding new applications for presently undervalued waste by-products.

Results and Materials

Activity researchers

Name Organization/Location
Moussa S. Diarra (Activity Leader)    AAFC- Guelph
Pascal Delaquis AAFC- Summerland
Kelly Ross AAFC- Summerland
Jason McCallum AAFC- Charlottetown
Edward Topp AAFC- London
Joshua Gong AAFC- Guelph
Qi Wang     AAFC- Guelph
Elijah Kiari University of Guelph
Yan Martel Kennes CRSAD
Robert G Beiko Dalhousie University
Francois Malouin University of Sherbrooke
Satinder Kaur Brar Institut national de la recherche scientifique