In three experiments the effects of prophylactic or therapeutic dietary inclusion of capsaicin, the pungent component of peppers, were evaluated as a nonantibiotic alternative for reduction of Salmonella in broiler chickens through culture and morphologic assessment of cecal tissue. Expt. 1 evaluated the effects of 0 or 10 ppm purified capsaicin (CAP) in the starter phase (days 1–16) on chicks challenged with Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) on day of age. Therapeutic inclusion of 10 ppm purified CAP increased (P < 0.05) liver/spleen (L/S) and ceca positive results for SE. In Expt. 2, capsaicin oleoresin (CO) was included in the finisher diet (days 30–37) at 0, 5, or 20 ppm with SE challenge on day 31. Inclusion of 5 ppm CO increased ceca positive results for SE, and a linear decrease in cecal lamina propria thickness of SE-challenged birds was observed with increased CO concentration in the diet. Expt. 3 evaluated prophylactic CO treatment at 0, 5, or 20 ppm in starter, grower, and finisher diets for resistance to SE or Salmonella Typhimurium (ST) challenge on day 14 or 29. With challenge on day 14, 5 and 20 ppm prophylactic CO feeding reduced ceca SE positive results by 37% and 26%, respectively, and ST culture rate was reduced similarly with 5 ppm CO. Lamina propria thickness of the ceca increased with 5 ppm CO feeding in SE-challenged birds, whereas a decrease was observed in nonchallenged birds fed 5 ppm CO. Challenge on day 29 of birds fed 20 ppm CO resulted in reduced L/S positive results for SE. Lamina propria thickness decreased with 5 ppm CO and SE or ST challenge compared with nonchallenged birds fed 5 ppm. An increase was observed in ST- or SE-challenged birds fed 20 ppm CO compared with nonchallenged birds fed 20 ppm CO. No differences were observed in mast cell number in either Expt. 2 or 3. These data provide evidence that prophylactic or therapeutic dietary capsaisin differentially affects broiler susceptibility to Salmonella.
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Vol. 49 • No. 4