Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Animal Science (MS)

Degree Level



Animal Science


Jiangchao Zhao

Committee Member

Young Min Kown

Second Committee Member

Yan Huang


Clostridium Perfringens, Intestinal Permeability, Lactobacillus, Metatranscriptomics, Microbiome, Necrotic Enteritis, Tributyrin


Necrotic enteritis (NE) is a recognized multifactorial disease that causes an annual loss of $6 billion to the poultry industry. Thus, it has become essential to carry a comprehensive study of the composition of chicken gut which hosts this disease. The objective of this research is to measure the changes occurring in microbiome inside intestinal ilium of NE affected broilers which were treated with tributyrin supplement. This supplement is an anti-inflammatory metabolite that stabilizes intestinal integrity. The experimental design consisted of two challenge groups (No -Challenge, Clostridium Perfringens (CP) - Challenge) and one treatment group (tributyrin). To our knowledge, this project was the first research employing metatranscriptomics approach on ileum part of intestine.

The metatranscriptomics analysis resulted in 7796 transcripts. It was found that only six bacteria showed significant differences (~5%) on a species level amongst the three groups for CP challenge, No challenge and tributyrin samples. Bacteria such as Geofilum rubicundum and Lactobacillus were abundantly found in tributyrin group as compared to other two. This could be a contributor for the treatment of NE. An unexpected result was found for the bacteria Clostridium Perfringens.This bacterium was supposed to increase in the CP challenge group. Instead, it was found to have decreased as compared to tributyrin group.

Although butyrate (tributyrin) has numerous properties to treat NE in chicken, tributyrin seemingly didn’t appear to a contributor for the treatment of NE. Additional results from this work pointed towards Geofilum rubicundum as a prime candidate which may have contributed the most towards NE treatment. Thus, this work establishes a strong foundation to continue detailed research on treatment methods for NE through further assessment of Geofilum rubicundum, and potentially evaluating a bigger sample size.