Chicken intestine microbiota following the administration of lupulone, a hop-based antimicrobial


  • Editor: Julian Marchesi

  • Present addresses: Mark G. Wise, BioMerieux, Centre Christophe Merieux, 5 rue des Berges, 38024 Grenoble Cedex 01, France. Gregory R. Siragusa, Danisco USA, W227 N752 Westmound Drive, Waukesha, WI 53186, USA.

Correspondence: Glenn E Tillman, USDA FSIS OPHS Eastern Laboratory, 950 College Station Road, Athens, GA 30605, USA. Tel.: +1 706 546 3694; fax: +1 706 546 3144; e-mail:


The use of antibiotic growth promotants in poultry rearing is a public health concern due to antibiotic resistance in bacteria and the harborage of resistance genes. Lupulone, a hop β-acid from Humulus lupulus, has been considered as a potential feed additive growth promotant. Here, the effect of lupulone was evaluated for its effect on the microbiota of the chicken intestine. The intestinal microbiota of broilers was quantified after the addition of 125 mg L−1 lupulone to water and challenge with Clostridium perfringens. Microbial DNA was extracted from the broiler midgut and cecal sections and bacterial groups were quantified using real-time PCR. The predominant cecal bacterial groups were Clostridium leptum subgroup 16S rRNA gene Cluster IV, Clostridium coccoides subgroup 16S rRNA gene Clusters XIVa and XIVb and Bacteroides, whereas Lactobacillus, the Enterobacteriaceae family and Enterococcus dominated the midgut. Lupulone at 125 mg L−1 significantly decreased the C. perfringens subgroup 16S rRNA gene Cluster I, which contains several pathogenic species, in both the midgut and the cecum and Lactobacillus in the midgut. No significant changes were noted in the overall microbiota for the cecum or the midgut. Lupulone warrants further evaluation as a botanical agent to mitigate C. perfringens overgrowth in antibiotic-free reared poultry.