Analysis of the intestinal bacterial microbiota in maize- or sorghum-fed broiler chickens using real-time PCR
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1. An experiment was conducted to study the effect of two different diets on zootechnical performance and the major bacterial groups in association with the host mucosa and dispersed in the lumen contents of the small intestine of broiler chickens.2. The two experimental diets were maize or sorghum-based. In addition to the total bacteria, bacterial groups belonging to the Enterobacteriaceae (Enterococcus and Lactobacillus) were quantified by real-time PCR.3. There were no differences in body weight gain and feed intake, but feed conversion ratio increased for sorghum-fed broilers at 21 and 42 d of age.4. The Enterococcus group decreased in all gut segments from 7 to 42 d, while the Lactobacillus group increased in both ecosystems. In the ileal mucosa, the enterobacterial counts decreased from 7 to 42 d in the maize-based diet, but remained stable in the sorghum-based diet.5. The results shed light on the spatial and temporal distribution of bacterial groups that play important physiological roles in the small intestine of chickens. Specifically, the increased Enterobacteria population in the ileum is consistent with the relatively poor feed conversion in sorghum-fed broilers.