Microorganisms (Jul 2022)

Insights into the Gut Microbial Communities of Broiler Chicken Fed Black Soldier Fly Larvae-<i>Desmodium</i>-Based Meal as a Dietary Protein Source

  • Evalyne W. Ndotono,
  • Fathiya M. Khamis,
  • Joel L. Bargul,
  • Chrysantus M. Tanga

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 10, no. 7
p. 1351


Read online

The utilization of insect-based diets to improve gastrointestinal function and gut health in poultry is gaining global attention as a promising feed additive. The objective of this study was to determine the optimal inclusion level of the full-fat black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) and Desmodium intortum (DI) in broiler chicken diets and to evaluate their impact on the microbial community in the gut. The bacterial communities were characterized using Oxford nanopore sequencing of the full-length bacterial 16S rRNA gene. Four dietary treatments, T1 (25% DI + 75% BSFL), T2 (50% DI + 50% BSFL), T3 (75% DI + 25% BSFL) and T4 (100% fishmeal + 0% DI + BSFL), were fed to the broiler chickens for a period of 42 days. Out of the 395,034 classified reads analyzed, the most predominant phyla identified across all the four dietary treatments were Firmicutes (94%), Bacteroidetes (3%), and Proteobacteria (2%). The T1 diet showed the highest alpha diversity and richness according to the Chao1 and Shannon indices. Beta diversity assessment revealed a significant influence of diet on the abundance of the microbiome. There was an increase in beneficial lactic acid bacteria with increasing inclusion of BSFL in the diets. Our findings strongly support the inclusion of BSFL into poultry diet as a promising protein source to reshape the gut microbiota for improved gut health, immune response, and food safety.