Current Microbiology

, Volume 76, Issue 2, pp 173–177 | Cite as

Community-Level Physiological Profiling for Microbial Community Function in Broiler Ceca

  • Hung-Yueh YehEmail author
  • John E. Line
  • Arthur HintonJr.


Poultry production is a major agricultural output worldwide. It is known that the gut health of broilers is essential for their growth and for providing wholesome products for human consumption. Previously, the microbial diversity of broiler ceca was studied at the genetic level. However, the functional diversity and metabolic activity of broiler cecal bacterial communities are not fully investigated. Recently, the EcoPlates™ from Biolog, Inc. have been used for characterizing bacterial communities from various environments. In this study, we applied these plates to physiologically profile cecal bacterial communities in broilers. The ceca were aseptically excised from 6-week-old broilers, and their contents were suspended in phosphate buffered saline. The cultures in the EcoPlates™ were incubated at 42 °C for 5 days in an OmniLog® system. Responses of the bacterial communities to the various chemicals as carbon sources were measured on formazan production. The results show sigmoidal growth curves with three phases in all 12 cecal samples. Cecal bacterial communities could not use 11 carbon substrates for carbon sources; instead, they used pyruvic acid methyl ester, glycogen, glucose-1-phosphate and N-acetyl-d-glucosamine most frequently. Each bacterial community metabolized various numbers of the substrates at different rates among broilers. In the future, modification of the culture conditions to mimic the gut environment is needed. More investigations on the effects of nutrients, Salmonella or Campylobacter on physiological functions of cecal bacterial communities will provide insights into the improvement of animal well-being, saving production expenditures for producers and providing safer poultry products for human consumption.



We thank Susan Q. Brooks and Manju Amin of Poultry Microbiological Safety and Processing Research Unit, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Athens, GA for the technical support. Also, we are grateful to Dr. Justin Vaughn of Genomics and Bioinformatics Research Unit, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Athens, GA for statistical analysis. This study was supported by the USDA Agricultural Research Service CRIS Project No. 6040-32000-071-00D and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association Project No. BRF002. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this paper is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is an equal opportunity provider and employer. The parts of the data were presented as a poster in the FoodMicro 2018 Conference (26th International ICFMH Conference) in Berlin, Germany from September 3–6, 2018.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (TIF 246 KB)
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Supplementary material 2 (TIF 245 KB)
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Supplementary material 3 (PDF 367 KB)
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Supplementary material 4 (DOCX 17 KB)
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Supplementary material 5 (XLSX 11 KB)


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply  2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Poultry Microbiological Safety and Processing Research Unit, U.S. National Poultry Research Center, Agricultural Research ServiceU.S. Department of AgricultureAthensUSA

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