Campylobacter as an inhabitant of the poultry gastrointestinal tract has proven to be difficult to reduce with most feed additives. In-feed antibiotics have been taken out of poultry diets due to the negative reactions of consumers along with concerns regarding the generation of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Consequently, interest in alternative feed supplements to antibiotics has grown. One of these alternatives, prebiotics, has been examined as a potential animal and poultry feed additive. Prebiotics are non-digestible ingredients by host enzymes that enhance growth of indigenous gastrointestinal bacteria that elicit metabolic characteristics considered beneficial to the host and depending on the type of metabolite, antagonistic to establishment of pathogens. There are several carbohydrate polymers that qualify as prebiotics and have been fed to poultry. These include mannan-oligosaccharides and fructooligosaccharides as the most common ones marketed commercially that have been used as feed supplements in poultry. More recently, several other non-digestible oligosaccharides have also been identified as possessing prebiotic properties when implemented as feed supplements. While there is evidence that prebiotics may be effective in poultry and limit establishment of foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella in the gastrointestinal tract, less is known about their impact on Campylobacter. This review will focus on the potential of prebiotics to limit establishment of Campylobacter in the poultry gastrointestinal tract and future research directions.
- Gastrointestinal tract