Effects of dietary supplementation with lysozyme on the structure and function of the cecal microbiota in broiler chickens Academic Article uri icon


  • Lysozyme is known to eliminate intestinal pathogens in poultry and improve their growth performance. However, whether it can replace antibiotic growth promoters without the associated risk of the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains is not known, and the effects of lysozyme supplementation on the composition, biodiversity, and function of the chicken gut microbiota remain unclear. Here, we used the 16S rRNA gene and ITS fragment Illumina sequencing combined with transcriptomic analysis to address this issue. A total of 400 1-d-old Di Gao chicks were allocated randomly to five groups, each consisting of four replicates (20 birds/group). The chicks were fed a starter (1-21 d) and a grower (22-42 d) diet supplemented with 0 (control), 40 (LYS40), 100 (LYS100), or 200 ppm (LYS200) lysozyme, or 400 ppm flavomycin as an antibiotic control for 6 weeks. Lysozyme administration did not contribute significantly (P > 0.05) to the growth of the broiler chickens. No significant (P > 0.05) differences in the diversity and composition of the bacterial and fungal communities in the cecal microbiota of chickens in the different diet groups were found. However, lysozyme supplementation led to a significant (P < 0.05) enrichment of genes involved in the synthesis/degradation of bacterial outer membranes and cell walls, cross-cell substrate transport, and carbohydrate metabolic processes, thus possibly promoting the cecal microbiota carbon and energy metabolism. Bacteroides contributed 31.9% of glycoside hydrolase genes (17,681-24,590), 26.1% of polysaccharide lyase genes (479-675), 20.7% of carbohydrate esterase genes (3,509-4,101), 8.8% of auxiliary activity genes (705-1,000), 16.2% of glycosyltransferase genes (5,301-6,844), and 13.9% of carbohydrate-binding module genes (8838-15,172) identified in the cecal samples. Thus, they were the main players in the breakdown of non-starch polysaccharides in the cecum, although Parabacteroides, Alistipes, Prevotella, Clostridium, Blastocystis, Barnesiella, Blautia, Faecalibacterium, Subdoligranulum, Megamonas, Eubacterium, Ruminococcus, Paenibacillus, Bifidobacterium, Akkermansia, and other bacteria also participated.


  • Xia, Yun
  • Kong, James
  • Zhang, Guobing
  • Zhang, Xuxiang
  • Seviour, Robert
  • Kong, Yunhong

publication date

  • 2019