This study evaluated the efficacy of probiotic utilization as growth promoters in broiler chicken feeding using systematic literature review and meta-analysis. Thirty-five studies were recovered by the systematic review, 27 of which met the following criteria to be included in the meta-analysis: (1) Brazilian studies published between 1995 and 2005; (2) probiotics administered in the diet without growth promoter; (3) results included performance data with the respective coefficient of variation. Meta-analysis have shown that the probiotics promoted better weight gain and feed conversion than the negative control (no antimicrobial) in the initial phase (1 to 20-28 days); nevertheless, results were similar in the total period (1 to 35-48 days). Weight gain and feed conversion were similar between probiotics and the positive control (with antimicrobial) both in the initial and in the total periods. Viability in the total period improved with the use of probiotics in comparison to the negative or positive controls. Sensitivity analysis showed that the results of meta-analysis were coherent. The funnel plots and the Egger regression method evidenced that the studies published in Brazil do not present biased results. It is possible to conclude that the probiotics are a technically viable alternative to antimicrobial growth promoters in broiler feeding. Nevertheless, further studies are necessary to identify eventual differences among the probiotics commercially available in Brazil.
This study aimed: 1) to classify ingredients according to the digestible amino acid (AA) profile; 2) to determine ingredients with AA profile closer to the ideal for broiler chickens; and 3) to compare digestible AA profiles from simulated diets with the ideal protein profile. The digestible AA levels of 30 ingredients were compiled from the literature and presented as percentages of lysine according to the ideal protein concept. Cluster and principal component analyses (exploratory analyses) were used to compose and describe groups of ingredients according to AA profiles. Four ingredient groups were identified by cluster analysis, and the classification of the ingredients within each of these groups was obtained from a principal component analysis, showing 11 classes of ingredients with similar digestible AA profiles. The ingredients with AA profiles closer to the ideal protein were meat and bone meal 45, fish meal 60 and wheat germ meal, all of them constituting Class 1; the ingredients from the other classes gradually diverged from the ideal protein. Soybean meal, which is the main protein source for poultry, showed good AA balance since it was included in Class 3. On the contrary, corn, which is the main energy source in poultry diets, was classified in Class 8. Dietary AA profiles were improved when corn and/or soybean meal were partially or totally replaced in the simulations by ingredients with better AA balance.