Tenebrio molitor and Zophobas morio Full-Fat Meals in Broiler Chicken Diets: Effects on Nutrients Digestibility, Digestive Enzyme Activities, and Cecal Microbiome

Authors: by Abdelbasset Benzertiha, Bartosz Kierończyk, Mateusz Rawski, Agata Józefiak, Krzysztof Kozłowski, Jan Jankowski, Damian Józefiak

Publication: Animals 2019, 9(12), 1128; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121128


In animal nutrition, the links among health status, alimentary tract factors and gastrointestinal tract (GIT) integrity are increasing in importance. It has been documented that insects are useful as novel ingredients in poultry diets because they contain bioactive compounds such as chitin, melanin, and antimicrobial peptides, in addition to protein and dietary fat, and these bioactive compounds have been reported to modulate the GIT microbiome. From this perspective, insects could be promising functional feed additives to stimulate GIT health through inhibition of potentially pathogenic bacteria. Therefore, we evaluated the effect of the addition of a small amount of insects to the broiler chicken diet on the GIT microbiota composition and activity. Six experimental groups were used in the current study, i.e., two different levels (0.2% and 0.3%) of yellow mealworm and super mealworm full-fat meals, a positive control with salinomycin addition, and a negative control without any additives. Insect full-fat meals were capable of improving the health status of the birds by a positive reduction in potentially pathogenic bacteria in the cecal digesta and stimulation of the GIT microbiome to produce enzymes, especially glycolytic enzymes.