nutrition, immunology, pathogens


Sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics were used in poultry production since the 1950s for improved production, prophylaxis, and animal welfare. Extensive and indiscriminatory use of antibiotics led to the emergence of antibiotic resistance in food-borne pathogens of public health significance (Jones & Ricke, 2003). As per the United States Centre for Disease Control, more than 2.8 million infections in 2019 were caused by multidrug resistant bacteria. Due to public health concerns, the use of antibiotic growth promoters in livestock production was prohibited by Sweden and Denmark in 1986 and 1998 respectively (Hammerum et al., 2007). The European Union banned the use of antibiotics except for coccidiostats and histomonostats in livestock production effective from January 1, 2006 (Anadón et al., 2018). In 2013, the United States Food and Drug Administration recommended voluntary regulation on the use of medically important antibiotics in food animal production (Sneeringer et al., 2015). Regulations on the use of in-feed antibiotic growth promoters led to the reemergence of poultry pathogens that were otherwise manageable. An increase in the consumer preference for organically raised and antibiotic-free poultry products has necessitated the need to find an alternative to antibiotics in commercial poultry production. Several potential alternatives are currently available in the market such as probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, phytobiotics, engineered peptides, enzymes, organic acids, egg yolk immunoglobulins, bacteriophages, vaccination, and nutraceuticals (Low et al., 2021). This review aims at introducing the recent progress in the field of nutritional immunology in the prevention and control of enteric diseases of poultry with special emphasis on food-borne pathogens, coccidiosis, and necrotic enteritis.