Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Kiess, Aaron S.

Committee Member

Simpson, Chartrisa, L.

Committee Member

Karsi, Attila

Committee Member

Zhai, Wei

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Visible to MSU only for 1 year

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Agriculture and Life Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Poultry Science


Controlling pathogenic presence in broilers has become a priority in the poultry industry to prevent economic losses due to disease and infection, as well as the possible contamination of chicken products. The use of antibiotics reduces the incidence of infections; however, their removal from production initiated the search for suitable alternatives. Probiotic ineed supplements have been widely evaluated as alternatives. Probiotic use has improved broiler performance, reduced pathogenic loads, and stimulated the immune system at later life stages. However, there is still a gap in protection during the first weeks after the chick hatches. The in ovo supplementation of probiotics has the potential of promoting early health benefits and protect the chick against pathogens after hatch. In the present study, the in ovo inoculation of different probiotic species was evaluated. It was determined that the inoculation of higher concentrations of E. faecium (107 cfu/50µL) into the egg improves growth performance and intestinal morphology compared to lower doses (105 and 106 cfu/50µL). It was also determined that not all B. subtilis serotypes are safe for in ovo inoculation, even if recognized as safe for use in feed, due to a high reduction in hatchability. However, certain B. subtilis are safe for in ovo inoculation and regulate the gut microflora through modulations in coliforms and aerobic bacteria after hatch. Lastly, the in ovo inoculation of different Lactobacillus strains does not affect hatchability or growth performance. However, different Lactobacillus species stimulated cytokine production even during the first week of hatch. The bursa of Fabricius morphology was modulated through an increase in follicular area, which could possibly induce higher antibody production against incoming pathogenic challenges. These results indicate that the in ovo inoculation of probiotic bacteria can induce earlier benefits to broiler health through early changes in gut microflora, as well as early stimulation in the immune system. The early protection provided through the in ovo inoculation of probiotics combined with the protection obtained through the administration of probiotics in feed could potentially result in overall healthier broilers and therefore improved performance.