The poultry industry has grown to immense business volume in Pakistan in last 3 to 4 decades. In a recent data Ministry of Finance has reported on Pakistan economic survey, that the country is now contributing to the industry as top 11th poultry producer in the world.

The Necrotic enteritis is the most discussed and prevalent problem as it is still reported as the biggest disease element around the industry.

The poultry industry has grown to immense business volume in Pakistan in last 3 to 4 decades. A recent data, reported by Ministry of Finance on Pakistan economic survey, revealed that the country is now contributing to the industry as top 11th poultry producer in the world. The Ministry confirmed 7.5 billion rupees annually investment on poultry from all over the country.

The business growth is still expected to grow bigger in near future as its business multiplier is about 8% increase from last few survey reports. No doubt, the industry is continuously connected to R&D (Research and Development sector) to rectify some core problems which are still a challenge for production sector to cope with the end user’s demands.

Discussing the investment on farming sector of poultry; it can easily be stated that the industry has invested a lot on digestive disorders because these are the most devastating sickening factors which act to turn tail of production potential of farm birds sub-clinically.

The bacterial digestive infections are top of the list of factors contributing to the production challenges. The main reasons are that the bacteria have evolved to more optimal ranges of environmental requirements and have ability to get resistant to antibiotics. The digestive bacteria are also more easily damaging due to their virulence for mucosa and lasting exposure to required nutrients even inside the host.

They directly or indirectly harbor the gut and easily hijack the whole Nutrient assimilating machinery of the bird. Among digestive diseases, the Necrotic enteritis is the most discussed and prevalent problem as it is still reported as the biggest disease element around the industry.

This type of enteritis is entitled for maximum On-the-farm share of production losses because of subclinical nature in the affected birds. The disease is unidentifiable due to its similar manifestations as in other digestive problems and even may show no clinically notable problem except decrease in feed intake.

Our research group in Pathology department, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad is reconsidering research work on non-medicinal approaches to tackle this harmful and economically important infection in broilers since last 3 to 4 years.

There will be marvelous findings to be shared in near future but some important suppositions which came true and proven useful in controlling the guerilla war (subclinical infection) of the Clostridia within the intestine, are as follows.

The intestine, genetically refurbished in the many decades, is still operating on naturally induced competition of microbes. The captive environment may hold helpful population as dominating or may allow harmful microbes as invaders. Both situations have lots of questions which are still being answered.

The knowledge of GIT till now has been enough explained to tell the story of microbial population inside the intestine that “How is it swarming in and How diverse it may nurture?”

The microbes are like frontline soldiers for the intestinal lumen, as it is the most-exposed-to-infection epithelium in the body after the respiratory epithelium. These frontline competitors always do their duties to resist any infectious insult, whatever it is.

The clostridia face major resistance when it enters the gut, and in this competition of harboring the intestine any of the two can succeed. The immune compromised birds will get easy infection harboring the intestine because the clostridia will not face any strong microbial competitive candidate to obviate the infection.

The creation of strongly immune birds were the focus of research and development section in public and private sector in last many years. The studies in this direction reported that the immunity provoking mechanisms are the result of first candidate of the meeting chain with infective agent.

Similarly, the clostridia must face intestinal microbes first. These microbes are then found responsible for all further immune mechanisms.

So, the scientists around the world have reported that we can start with those bacteria either by provoking the naturally found population or to administer similar bacterial population to enrich this competition. Due to this prime focus on this microbial population, Scientists successfully recorded the benefits of externally administering the symbiotic microbes as immune booster because the other option was found not easily assessable due to difficult sampling and processing of microbe found within the intestine.

So, it was an unambiguous here that we can only measure or explain what we administer or feed to the bird and can measure them in terms of responses like feed efficiency and production parameters etc.

The next-door challenge was to find out strategies to know, “How can those microbes be grown In-vitro or How can we match that diversity of intestinal lumen?”

Probiotic industry made a lot of input in up-raising isolated cultures of symbiotic bacteria and fungi and even prepared different mixtures of such microbes to mimic the luminal environment to regulate dysbiosis.

Dysbiosis is another new term coined in recent years to mention loss of beneficial microbes which were previously found and reported to be part of that specie specific gut lumen. The dysbiosis or microbial deficiency has been reported as successfully curable. Scientists and researchers have claimed to put their final thoughts in this area of preventive medicine.

In the meanwhile, there occurred frequent disease reports despite offering probiotic solutions to those specific problems. Especially gut dysbiosis was then re-reported that it is a diverse and modifiable parameter of immunity in different species. The microbiome was then reported to be specie specific, environmental factors dependent and even age dependent.

In this way, the discoveries continued to some natural and frequently available sourcing of microbial help for body’s immunity.

No doubt the public and private sector have struggled a lot in terms of developing ways to suppress such subclinical infections, and they are still on high alert working in their research sections.

The production industry is now dreaming again to find out an authentic source of microbial rescue for the bird’s intestine, as it is still under threat of subclinical and clinical infections. The dream will soon come true. The sequel to this article in the near future will also unveil some suggestive facts about microbial resources and the most prevalent digestive threat, Necrotic enteritis.


Dr. Aisha Khatoon* and M. Yasir Nawaz*
*Department of Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.