Project: Development of immune function and avian gut health.

The DIFAGH proposal links cutting edge technologies with gut flora modification experiments to define the contribution of microbial colonisation to the development of chicken immune capacity, resistance and transmission of infection. The programme unites efforts of experienced avian immunologists, pathogen specialists and gut flora microbiologists, forming a trans-EU team of scientists to address the complex interactions between the chicken and its microbial environment. The proposed programme of work will deliver a combination of high quality fundamental research and practical outcomes, defining a new framework for selecting pro-biotic formulations to accelerate immune development, improve poultry gut health and reduce pathogen carriage. Specifically, we will determine the effects of pro-biotic formulations of differing complexity on the development of immune capability and the outcome of infection. We will also determine the effects on colonisation, persistence and transmission of Campylobacter and Salmonella. The studies will employ pro-biotic formulations under a variety of conditions to define how these interactions affect pathogen dynamics. We will determine the effects of microflora on development of the chicken intestinal immune system and the reciprocal impact of immunity on the microflora. Similarly, we will define the interactions between natural gut microflora, pro-biotic formulations, housing, chicken strain and infection dynamics. Each of these areas will involve application of established and new methods to determine changes in the immune system, the gut flora and disease transmission dynamics. These analyses will be supported by in vitro approaches to determine the microbial recognition events within the bird (such as those mediated by the avian Pattern Recognition Receptor system). One important anticipated outcome of this work will be to develop a new set of selection criteria for identifying components of defined pro-biotic formulations that can be used to promote the health of poultry and reduce the impact of infections that are pathogenic to poultry or transmitted from poultry to humans. We also expect to discover new pro-biotic components, formulations and delivery criteria that will maximise the impact of these sustainable interventions. Delivery of these outcomes is supported by the within-programme links to industry and by employing the experienced technology transfer teams at each institution. In addition to the scientific and practical solutions for the industry the DIFAGH programme will also be a focus for recruitment and training of future generations of researchers in this field. Project aims 1. To identify how ontogeny and gut microflora influence the temporal and spatial development of gut immunity and impact on resistance to enteric infection 2. To identify how probiotics affect resistance to infection and oral tolerance 3. To develop a rational framework for the development of new probiotic treatments

Acronym DIFAGH
Duration 31/03/2015
Website visit project website
Network EMIDA
Call 2nd EMIDA Joint Call on Emerging and Major Infectious Diseases of Livestock

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council United Kingdom
Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Denmark
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs United Kingdom
Federal Ministry of Education and Research Germany
French National Institute for Agricultural Research France
French National Research Agency France
Hebrew University of Jerusalem Israel
Kimron Veterinary Institute Israel
Lohmann Animal Health GmbH Germany
Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich Germany
Statens Serum Institut Denmark
University of Hannover Germany
University of Oxford Coordinator United Kingdom