Effects of dicopper oxide and copper sulfate on growth performance and gut microbiota in broilers

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An experiment was conducted to determine the effects of two sources of copper (Cu) from copper sulfate (CuSO 4) and dicopper oxide (Cu 2O, CoRouge) at three levels of inclusion (15, 75, and 150 mg/kg) on growth performance and gut microbiota of broilers. A total of 840 one-d-old male chickens (Ross 308) were weighed and randomly allocated to seven dietary treatments: negative control (NC, a basal diet without Cu addition), and the NC supplemented with 15, 75, or 150 mg Cu/kg from CuSO 4 or Cu 2O (12 replicate pens/treatment, 10 chicks per pen). Broilers were challenged by reusing an old litter with high concentrations in Clostridium perfringens to promote necrotic enteritis. Broiler performance was registered at d 21, 35, and 42. Excreta samples were collected at d 14, 28, and 42 for antimicrobial resistance (AMR) analyses. At d 43, one broiler per pen was euthanized to obtain ileal content for microbial characterization. Body weight d 35 and daily gain d 42 improved (P < 0.05) in Cu 2O as Cu dose inclusion increased from 15 mg/kg to 150 mg/kg. Supplementation of 150 mg/kg of Cu from Cu 2O decreased the abundance (P < 0.01) of some families such as Streptococcaceae and Corynebacteriaceae and increased the abundance (P < 0.05) of some commensal bacteria like Clostridiaceae and Peptostreptococcaceae. Phenotypic AMR was not different among treatments on d 14 and 28. Isolated Enterococcus spp. from broilers fed the NC diet on d 42 showed higher (P < 0.05) resistance to enrofloxacin, gentamicin, and chloramphenicol compared with Cu treatments. By contrast, the isolated Escherichia coli from broilers fed 150 mg/kg of Cu, either from CuSO 4 or Cu 2O, showed higher (P < 0.05) resistance to streptomycin and chloramphenicol compared to the NC. This study suggests that supplementing 150 mg/kg of Cu from Cu 2O establishes changes in the gut microbiota by regulating the bacterial population in the ileum, which may explain the positive impact on broilers' growth performance.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021


  • antimicrobial resistance
  • broiler
  • copper
  • growth performance
  • ileal microbiota


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