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Microbial short-chain fatty acids: a bridge between dietary fibers and poultry gut health — A review

  • Ali, Qasim
  • Ma, Sen
  • La, Shaokai
  • Guo, Zhiguo
  • Liu, Boshuai
  • Gao, Zimin
  • Farooq, Umar
  • Wang, Zhichang
  • Zhu, Xiaoyan
  • Cui, Yalei
  • Li, Defeng
  • Shi, Yinghua
Published Article
Animal Bioscience
Animal Bioscience
Publication Date
Apr 30, 2022
DOI: 10.5713/ab.21.0562
PMID: 35507857
PMCID: PMC9449382
PubMed Central
  • Review Paper


The maintenance of poultry gut health is complex depending on the intricate balance among diet, the commensal microbiota, and the mucosa, including the gut epithelium and the superimposing mucus layer. Changes in microflora composition and abundance can confer beneficial or detrimental effects on fowl. Antibiotics have devastating impacts on altering the landscape of gut microbiota, which further leads to antibiotic resistance or spread the pathogenic populations. By eliciting the landscape of gut microbiota, strategies should be made to break down the regulatory signals of pathogenic bacteria. The optional strategy of conferring dietary fibers (DFs) can be used to counterbalance the gut microbiota. DFs are the non-starch carbohydrates indigestible by host endogenous enzymes but can be fermented by symbiotic microbiota to produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). This is one of the primary modes through which the gut microbiota interacts and communicate with the host. The majority of SCFAs are produced in the large intestine (particularly in the caecum), where they are taken up by the enterocytes or transported through portal vein circulation into the bloodstream. Recent shreds of evidence have elucidated that SCFAs affect the gut and modulate the tissues and organs either by activating G-protein-coupled receptors or affecting epigenetic modifications in the genome through inducing histone acetylase activities and inhibiting histone deacetylases. Thus, in this way, SCFAs vastly influence poultry health by promoting energy regulation, mucosal integrity, immune homeostasis, and immune maturation. In this review article, we will focus on DFs, which directly interact with gut microbes and lead to the production of SCFAs. Further, we will discuss the current molecular mechanisms of how SCFAs are generated, transported, and modulated the pro-and anti-inflammatory immune responses against pathogens and host physiology and gut health.

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