PhD studentDisease Systems Animal & Veterinary Sciences
The intestinal tracts of animals are home to diverse and complex communities of microbes, termed the microbiota. These microbes play a crucial role in the health of the host by contributing energy from otherwise indigestible food sources, helping to protect the host from pathogenic organisms and aiding the development of the immune system. Antimicrobial growth promoters (AGPs) are antibiotics that have been used, at subtherapeutic concentrations, since the 1950s as a feed additive for livestock. The mechanisms by which AGPs improve growth and feed efficiency are yet to be elucidated, but they are thought to alter, or stabilise, the gut microbiota. My PhD focuses on the intestinal microbiota of broiler chickens and aims to:
From this work, I hope to understand what constitutes a desirable microbiota in broilers and which bacterial groups may be detrimental or beneficial to health and commercial performance. Key groups of bacteria may then be targeted using probiotics or dietary interventions.
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