Hyderabad: Telangana researchers have discovered a natural alternative to antibiotics in the poultry industry. Studies conducted at Telangana Veterinary University by PV Narsimha Rao revealed that chicory powder stopped the growth of antibiotics in broiler guts.

Inulin in chicory root powder promotes prebiotic properties in broilers, say researchers led by Gurram Srinivas of the college of veterinary science at the university.

This soluble, fermentable fiber is not digested by broiler digestive enzymes and provides a healthy substrate for beneficial bacteria in the gut. They stated that fermentation activity inhibits the growth of Escherichia coli and salmonella and selectively stimulates the growth of good bacteria in the gut.

Researchers published their work in the journal Plos One.

A study was conducted to determine whether chicory root powder affected the gut health of broilers. The experiment used two hundred male commercial broiler chicks divided randomly into five treatment groups with eight replications of five birds each, reared in battery brooders for 42 days. The results showed that supplementing chicory root powder with one percent resulted in higher body weight gain, feed intake, and feed conversion ratio compared to antibiotics.

By supplementing chicory at 1.5 and one percent, broiler goblet cells significantly increased in the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. Thus, chicory root powder can be used instead of antibiotics to improve the gut health of broiler chickens, report researchers.

Providing chicory root powder at one percent and 1.5 percent significantly decreased gut pH value in broilers and reduced bacterial content in their intestines.