2020 Volume 66 Issue 4 Pages 228-238
Bacillus based probiotics are becoming relevant as alternatives to antibiotics used in poultry production and in other animal husbandry. This study describes the isolation of 48 Bacillus spp. candidates, from chickens and chicken environments, for use as potential probiotics in poultry production. These isolates, plus a further 18, were tested in a comprehensive in vitro screening regime that was specifically designed to select the best isolates that satisfied multiple modes of action desirable for commercial poultry probiotics. This screening programme involved the evaluation of the ability of the isolates to survive and grow in the limiting conditions of the chicken gastrointestinal tract. Only 11 of the isolates fulfilled these criteria; hence, they were further evaluated for the ability to adhere to epithelial cells, produce extracellular enzymes, and to demonstrate antagonistic activity against selected pathogens of significant importance in poultry production. Of these, a total of 6 isolates were selected, due to their all-round probiotic capability. Identification by 16S RNA sequencing confirmed these isolates as B. subtilis and B. velezensis, identities which are generally regarded as safe. The Bacillus isolates reported in our study exhibit strong all-inclusive probiotic effects and can potentially be formulated as a probiotic preparation for poultry production.