April Newsletter

The 6th International Conference on Poultry Intestinal Health

In the first week of April, in the wonderful location of Rome, the Intestinal Health Scientific Interest Group (IHSIG) organized the 6th International Conference on Poultry Intestinal Health. The aim of the conference was to update the global knowledge about this extremely important topic: academics and poultry industry professionals from all over the world presented scientific works based on the “One World, One Health” concept.
The focus was on different interconnected topics, such as new alternatives to antibiotics, gut health diagnostic methods, interaction between host intestinal cells, nutrients, and microflora, host immune response and how to improve it, environmental and ecological footprint of poultry industry. The gut microbiota had a main role: researchers investigated which microbial species make up gut microflora, which is the impact of the diet on intestinal fermentations and microbiota, how to improve microbiota diversity, and also how this diversity modulates pathogens colonization. The main pathologies and etiological agents involved in the scientific expositions were, as expected, salmonellosis, Campylobacter jejuni, and necrotic enteritis.

The Vetagro commitment

Vetagro research team works continuously to better understand how to use feed additives to improve intestinal and global health in animals and to find new methods to investigate the mode of action and the effects of our products on intestinal cells. Our last results were presented at this important International Conference and are briefly resumed here below.

Isolation, primary culture, and characterization of chicken intestinal epithelial cells

Barbara Rossi, a member of Vetagro R&D team, presented an innovative method to isolate and culture chicken intestinal epithelial cells, deserving the “Best Poster Prize”.
On the market are now available different intestinal cell lines, used as an in vitro model to screen the effect of a wide range of molecules on the intestinal barrier function. The rationale behind this study is that, currently, none of the intestinal cell lines derive from chickens. Our R&D team isolated primary cell lines from duodenum of 19-days SPF chicken embryos, optimized culture conditions, and characterized cells by RT-PCR.
This innovative tool opens the door to further studies to investigate the effect of active principles and products on species-specific intestinal epithelium, and to deeply understand how to improve poultry gut health.

Organic acids and nature identical compounds improve the efficacy of conventional antibiotics against C. perfringens

Benedetta Tugnoli, another member of Vetagro R&D team, presented results of an in vitro study conducted to assess the antimicrobial activity of different feed additives contained in our products, alone or in combination with conventional antibiotics, against C. perfringens strains isolated from broiler intestines.
Minimal Inhibitory Concentration test results demonstrated that the vast majority of bacterial strains were resistant to conventional antibiotics, while both organic acids and nature identical compounds were highly effective against these pathogens. The combination of conventional antibiotics with specific nature identical compounds allowed to completely inhibit C. perfringens growth, both resistant and susceptible strains.
These results implicate that feed additives, already included in Vetagro products, can be proposed as non-conventional antimicrobials or as adjuvants of the conventional antibiotics against resistant pathogens.

What’s next?

These results are very exciting and encourage us to keep investigating for a deeper comprehension of the intestinal environment, the microbiota and how nutrients influence the intestinal health. Scientific studies are at the basis of our company: the recent findings presented at the International Conference gave us many inputs to develop new solutions for poultry production and chicken intestinal health.



    • Rossi et al. (2019). 6th International Conference on Poultry Intestinal Health, Apr, 3-5th, Rome.
    • Tugnoli et al. (2019). 6th International Conference on Poultry Intestinal Health, Apr, 3-5th, Rome.