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Assessment of cortisol and DHEA concentrations in Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) feathers to evaluate its allostatic load

Abstract

The use of a non-invasive approach to collect biological samples from natural populations represents a great means of gathering information while avoiding handling animals. Even if corticosterone is the main glucocorticoid investigated in birds, it has been observed a proportional direct link between corticosterone and cortisol concentrations. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) can be produced by the adrenal cortex and should have prominent antiglucocorticoid properties also in birds. The aim of this study was to verify if there is any difference in the cortisol and DHEA feather concentrations between clinically normal and physiologically compromised Griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) through the non-invasive approach of collecting moulted feathers without having to pluck them from the bird. The study was carried out using 8 physiologically compromised (PC) Griffons and 9 clinically normal Griffons considered as the control (CTRL) group that were necropsied or from the wildlife rehabilitation centre. Primary and secondary covert feathers were either collected directly from the birds’ cage floors, or, in the case of dead Griffons, they were plucked off the animals. The results, obtained by RIA, revealed that both cortisol (P<0.01) and DHEA (P<0.05) feather concentrations were higher in the PC than in the CTRL group. No difference was observed by comparing the cortisol/DHEA ratio between the two evaluated groups (P=0.15). Pearson’s correlation coefficients showed no correlation between feather hormone concentrations in the PC group (r=0.01, P=0.96) while a positive correlation in the CTRL group (r=0.65, P=0.006) was observed. In conclusion, our study reveals that moulted feathers can be a non-invasive and an interesting tool to evaluate the allostatic load of wild birds and they allowed to better understand the relationship between hormones of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis and the physiological status of the birds.

Open access
Assessment of gut microbiota and selected blood parameters in weaned piglets following supplementation with a probiotic and vitamin C

Abstract

The aim of the study was to assess the gut microbiota and selected haematological and biochemical blood parameters of weaned piglets following dietary supplementation with a probiotic and vitamin C. The piglets were divided into a control group (group C) and an experimental group (group E), with 30 piglets in each group. All animals received the same feed ad libitum. The animals in the control group (group C) received feed with no added probiotic and vitamin C. The piglets in the experimental group (group E) were given a supplement containing a probiotic (Bacillus cereus 1×109 CFU/kg) in the amount of 1.5 g/piglet/day and vitamin C in the amount of 300 mg/piglet/day. The supplement was administered for 28 days. The total numbers of bacteria of the family Enterobacteriaceae and of the genus Lactobacillus were determined in faeces. The erythrocyte count, haemoglobin level, haematocrit, leukocyte count, and percentages of neutrophils and lymphocytes were determined in the blood. The biochemical analysis concerned the concentration of triacylglycerols, total cholesterol, and LDL and HDL cholesterol. In group E a significant decrease (p<0.01) in the total number of Enterobacteriaceae bacteria was observed in the faeces of the piglets, accompanied by an increase in the number of lactobacilli relative to group C. E. coli was found to predominate over other microorganisms. Salmonella Choleraesuis bacteria were present in the faeces of both groups before administration of the supplement, but were not found after its use. The supplement with probiotic and vitamin C caused a significant increase in the erythrocyte, haemoglobin and haematocrit levels in the blood of the piglets and a significant decrease in the concentration of triacylglycerols, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.

Open access
The effect of addition of probiotic bacteria (Bacillus subtilis or Enterococcus faecium) or phytobiotic containing cinnamon oil to drinking water on the heath and performance of broiler chickens

Abstract

The aim of the study was to test whether the use of probiotic bacteria Bacillus subtilis or Enterococcus faecium or a phytobiotic containing cinnamon oil can improve the metabolic parameters, immune status, gut microbiota and histology, and growth performance of broiler chickens. The experiment was carried out on 560 one-day-old male Ross 308 broiler chickens raised until the age of 42 days. The broiler chickens were assigned to 4 experimental groups of 140 birds each (7 replications of 20 individuals each). The control group (Control) didn't receive additives. A probiotic preparation containing live bacterial cultures of Enterococcus faecium (EF, in the amount of 0.25 g/l) or Bacillus subtilis (BS, 0.25 g/l) or a phytobiotic preparation containing cinnamon oil (OC, 0.25 ml/l) was administered to the broiler chickens with their drinking water throughout the rearing period. The most important results indicate that the use of BS and OC resulted in: a significant (p≤0,05) increase in the level of ferric reducing ability of plasma (FRAP), high-density cholesterol (HDL) and glutathione (GSH +GSSH) and a significant (p≤0,05) decrease in the level of malondialdehyde (MDA), lipid hydroperoxides (LOOH), total cholesterol (TC), triacylglycerols (TAG), nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) and interleukin 6 (IL-6), a ratio of heterophils: leukocytes (H:L) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, alanine aminotransferase (ALT), acidic phosphatase (AC) and creatinine kinase (CK), relative to the C group. In the blood of broiler chickens from the OC treatment, asparagine aminotransferase (AST), lactate dehydrogenase activity and 3-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase (HBDH) significant (p≤0,05) decreased in relation to the C group, and in broiler chickens' from EF and BS treatments there was an increase (p≤0,05) haemoglobin (Hb) content. Compared with group C, in the broiler chickens' nutritional content from EF, BS and OC treatments, the total number of coliforms and number of fungi significant (p≤0,05) dropped and the number of aerobic bacteria increased (p≤0,05) and in the length of the villus and the depth of the crypt. It has been found that through bacterial Bacillus subtilis, Enterococcus faecium and phytobiotic containing cinnamon oil can improve the microbiological and histological image of broiler chickens' intestinal. The addition of probiotic bacteria Bacillus subtilis or phytobiotic containing cinnamon oil to drinking water is more preferably than Enterococcus faecium regarding stimulation the immune system, blood redox status parameters, parameters of metabolic changes and the gut microbiome and morphometry.

Open access
Effect of caponisation on bone development in native male chickens

Abstract

The aim of the study was to determine the effect of caponisation on the morphometric traits and mechanical parameters of tibial and femoral bones in Greenleg Partridge cocks. The experiment involved 200 cocks. At the age of 8 weeks, 100 birds were subjected to surgical castration. At week 24, the birds were slaughtered and tibial and femoral bones were collected from 10 non-caponised cocks and 10 capons. The caponisation surgery had no effect on the weight and length of any of the long bones but resulted in reduction (P≤0.05) of the ash content in both bones and Ca in the femur. It also influenced the geometric structure of the bones, i.e. there was an increase (P≤0.05) in the second moment of inertia in the tibial bone and the cross-sectional area and mean relative wall thickness in the femoral bone of the capons. The three-point bending test revealed a negative effect of caponisation on the mechanical strength of the bone. Values characterising the highest bone material strength, i.e. yielding load (femur), maximum force moment (tibia) and yielding deformation, bending point resistance, and load-to-deformation (both bones), declined in the capons. The investigations demonstrated a negative effect of caponisation on the quality of long bones. The tibial bone seems to be slightly more sensitive to the caponisation effects than the femoral bone. It can be assumed based on the analysis of biomechanical traits that the bones of capons are more susceptible to deformations or fractures due to their modified geometry and mechanical brittleness.

Open access
Effect of production system and age on the growth performance and carcass traits of pheasants (Phasianus colchicus)

Abstract

A total of 211 pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) were reared using two different production systems (free range and intensive) to determine the effect of production system and slaughter age on growth performance and carcass traits. Birds were slaughtered at 14, 16, and 18 weeks of age. Production system did not significantly affect body weight until 18 weeks; at this age, pheasants reared in free range exhibited a higher average weight (1149 g vs. 1012 g). Total feed consumption and feed conversion ratios did not differ among production systems. The most in-demand portions of the carcass (breast and leg) were not affected by differences in production system. The leg and breast proportions which were the most edible parts of the carcass were around 26% and 35%, respectively both in free-range and intensive systems.

Open access
Effectiveness evaluation of use of various protein feeds for broiler chicken feeding

Abstract

The purpose of this paper was to assess the suitability of various protein feeds in broiler chicken feeding. The study covered 160 birds split into 5 equipotent groups (SBM, EFFS, RFFS, EL, DDGS). Four protein feeds were an experimental factor: extruded full-fat soybean (EFFS group), raw full-fat soybean (RFFS group), extruded lupine (EL group) and distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS group) that were added to starter rations in an amount replacing 30%, and in grower and finisher rations 50% of extracted soybean meal protein. Results showed that after replacing an identical amount of extracted soybean meal protein with protein from extruded soybean or DDGS in chicken rations, the final body weight and feed conversion ratio were similar to those of birds from the control group. Deterioration (p≤0.01) in the above-mentioned parameters was observed for chickens fed with rations containing raw soybean or extruded lupine. Birds that were given rations containing raw soybean (RFFS group) were characterized by the lowest dressing percentage, and - compared to the control group - the difference was significant (p≤0.01). The type of protein feed contained in the rations did not affect the musculature of chickens however it did impact their fat deposition. Fat deposition was the lowest in birds from RFFS and DDGS groups that reached the lowest final body weight. Microscopic images of all examined livers showed a normal histological structure. The results of the studies carried out provide a basis for recommending the use of extruded full-fat soybean or DDGS in broiler chicken rations as partial substitutes for extracted soybean meal protein.

Open access
Effects of partial replacement of soybean meal with rapeseed meal, narrow-leaved lupin, DDGS, and probiotic supplementation, on performance and gut microbiota activity and diversity in broilers

Abstract

This study examines the impact of soybean meal (SBM) substitutes, including solvent-extracted 00 rapeseed meal (RSM), narrow-leaved lupin (LUPIN), and distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) (each used at a ratio of 250 g/kg−1 in the diet), as well as administered probiotic (L. casei, L. plantarum, Rhodopseudomonas palustris, S. cerevisiae), on gut microbiota activity, diversity and performance. The experimental treatments were arranged in a 4 × 2 factorial design, with the factors being protein source in the diets (SBM only, RSM, LUPIN or DDGS) given from 8 to 35 days of age, and with or without a probiotic preparation administered in drinking water during the entire rearing period. The performance declined in birds fed with SBM substitutes (P≤0.01). The RSM diet decreased concentration of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) (P<0.01) in ileal and caecal digesta as well as decreased bacterial enzymes activity in the caeca. The LUPIN diet increased viscosity and decreased SCFAs concentration in ileum, while the DDGS diet increased butyrate concentration in caeca. SBM substitutes and probiotic were involved in changing the Clostridiales and Lactobacillales diversity in the ileal and caecal digesta. Probiotic administration did not affect performance, but it did alleviate some negative effects of SBM substitutes on microbiota activity and diversity.

Open access
Effects of single and combined supplementation of dietary probiotic with bovine lactoferrin and xylooligosaccharide on hemato-immunological and digestive enzymes of silvery-black porgy (Sparidentex hasta) fingerlings

Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of different levels of dietary Lactobacillus plantarum as probiotic (Pro) with bovine lactoferrin (LF) and xylooligosacharide (XOS) on growth performance, hemato-immune response, body composition, digestive enzymes activity and expression of immune-related and growth-related genes of sobaity (Sparidentex hasta) for 8 weeks. Fish were fed with feed including: control diet (no LF, XOS and Pro inclusion), diet 1(400 mg kg−1 LF + 5000 mg kg−1 XOS), diet 2 (400 mg kg−1 LF + 10000 mg kg−1 XOS), diet 3 (400 mg kg−1 LF + 1 × 106 gr−1 Pro (L. plantarum)), diet 4 (800 mg kg−1 LF + 5000 mg kg−1 XOS), diet 5 (800 mg kg−1 LF + 10000 mg kg−1 XOS), diet 6 (800 mg kg−1 LF + 1 × 106 gr−1 Pro (L. plantarum)). Growth performance, hematological parameters (except for white blood cell counts), body composition and immune-related gene expression were not affected by different experimental groups (P > 0.05). Nonetheless, non-specific immune response (except for total immunoglobulin) and growth-related gene expression of treatments and control group significantly varied (P < 0.05). Digestive enzymes activity including total protease and amylase increased by supplementing diets with different combinations of immunostimulants (P < 0.05). Our results suggest that diets supplemented with selected levels of LF, XOS and L. plantarum could not improve growth performance, body composition and hemato-immune response, but improved digestive enzyme activities in S. hasta fingerlings.

Open access
Feeding complete concentrate pellets containing ground grains or blend of steam-flaked grains and other concentrate ingredients in ruminant nutrition – a review

Abstract

Feed industry has attempted to promulgate animal husbandry sector for feeding complete concentrate pellets containing ground grains in the ruminant nutrition and thus prevent farmers for making concentrate in their farms. Reducing particle size using pre-pelleting grinding and pressing materials during pellet formation, plus starch gelatinization by heat treatment in the conditioner are key factors determining the extent and rate of starch digestion in ingested pellets. If pre-pelleting grinding of corn and barley grain for using in the pelleted concentrate results ground materials of less than 1.8 mm mean particle size (specially in case of barley grain which is highly fermentable), then it increases the rate of fermentability in the rumen which it in turn increase the acidosis risk. Such situation and dissatisfaction from pellets feeding to ruminant have directed farmers to produce homemade mash concentrate which may include steam-flaked form of grains in the concentrate mixture. Pelleting process increases the time needed to collapse the pellet in the rumen so delays the access of microbes to fermentable organic matter. This counterbalance property was highly depends on pellet size with highest effect obtained using in 10 mm diameter pellets for cattle. Feeding separately steam-flaked grains (plus other pelleted/mash non-grain ingredients of concentrate) may results similar to the complete concentrate pellets having ground grains prepared according to optimized recommendations (pellet diameter and grain mean particle size). Nonetheless cost benefit studies are necessary to adopt one of two above optimized technologies that has higher starch utilization and lower fecal starch excretion by animal. In the situation where consuming steam-flaked grains has priority of application in the diet, it is strongly recommend to pellet non-grain portions of concentrate for obtaining numerous pellet advantages such as reducing transportation cost, dust, sorting and bird removal.

Open access
Functions of circular RNAs involved in animal skeletal muscle development – a review

Abstract

Circular RNAs (circRNAs) have been identified in the skeletal muscle of numerous species of animals. Their abundance, diversity, and their dynamic expression patterns have been revealed in various developmental stages and physiological conditions in skeletal muscles. Recently, studies have made known that circRNAs widely participate in muscle cell proliferation and differentiation. They are also involved in other life processes such as functioning as microRNA (miRNA) sponges, regulators of splicing and transcription, and modifiers of parental gene expression with emerging pieces of evidence indicating a high chance of playing a vital role in several cells and tissues especially the muscles. Other research has emphatically stated that the growth and development of skeletal muscle are regulated by proteins as well as non-coding RNAs, which involve circRNAs. Therefore, circRNAs have been considered significant biological regulators for understanding the molecular mechanisms of myoblasts. Here, we discuss how circRNAs are abundantly expressed in muscle (myoblast) and their critical roles in growth and development.

Open access