Current Perspectives of the Chicken Gastrointestinal Tract and Its Microbiome

Comput Struct Biotechnol J. 2018 Mar 15;16:131-139. doi: 10.1016/j.csbj.2018.03.002. eCollection 2018.


The microbial communities inhabiting the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of chickens are essential for the gut homeostasis, the host metabolism and affect the animals' physiology and health. They play an important role in nutrient digestion, pathogen inhibition and interact with the gut-associated immune system. Throughout the last years high-throughput sequencing technologies have been used to analyze the bacterial communities that colonize the different sections of chickens' gut. The most common methodologies are targeted amplicon sequencing followed by metagenome shotgun sequencing as well as metaproteomics aiming at a broad range of topics such as dietary effects, animal diseases, bird performance and host genetics. However, the respective analyses are still at the beginning and currently there is a lack of information in regard to the activity and functional characterization of the gut microbial communities. In the future, the use of multi-omics approaches may enhance research related to chicken production, animal and also public health. Furthermore, combinations with other disciplines such as genomics, immunology and physiology may have the potential to elucidate the definition of a "healthy" gut microbiota.

Keywords: Chicken broilers; Gastrointestinal tract; Microbiome; Microbiome-host interaction; Omics.

Publication types

  • Review