Commercial poultry production can cause oxidative stress, which decreases performance and reproductive efficiency in broilers, breeders and commercial layers. To meet increased pressure to decrease antibiotic use in poultry production, Lallemand Animal Nutrition has focused its R&D efforts on offering complementary natural antioxidant solutions for broilers and layers. At the recent European Symposium on Poultry Nutrition (ESPN 2017) in Spain, Lallemand Animal Nutrition showcased results from these new antioxidant studies:

  • Model development for selenium enrichment in broilers following Se-yeast supplementation (Barbé F., Sacy A., Chevaux E., Castex M.)
  • Comparison of selenium bioavailability in laying hens fed different organic selenium sources (Barbé F., Sacy A., Poulain S., Chevaux E., Castex M.)
  • Stimulation of antioxidant defenses and protection of the immune system in broilers supplemented with pelleted SOD-rich melon pulp concentrate (Barbé F., Sacy A., Carillon J., Chevaux E., Castex M.)

The research results were well received by the poultry industry at a time of increased interest for natural approaches to enhance poultry production and support birds’ health status. Reinforcement of natural defenses through support of immunity has become a key target for producers.

Selenium yeast bioavailability in broilers

One study presented was conducted in broilers to measure the bioavailability of organic selenium (Alkosel, selenium enriched yeast) as compared to inorganic selenium (sodium selenite) in various organs, (serum, feathers, muscle, bursa of Fabricius) to develop a practical method to evaluate selenium (Se) bioavailability. Research was shown that Se bioavailability and kinetics can differ according to the analyzed organ.

Findings of research include:


  • Alkosel showed better efficiency than sodium selenite to enrich Se level in the four analyzed compartments: serum, feathers, muscle, and bursa of Fabricius, even as early as 14 days of age (first time point of the analysis).
  • Feathers represent a valuable and practical compartment to assess Se assimilation. Thus, besides laying hens, growing animals, such as broilers, could represent an interesting model to discriminate the assimilation of Se from various sources. Until now, in broilers, Se assimilation was usually assessed at the end of the production cycle, which did not give any information on the rate of Se metabolism and enrichment in the growing animals.

All selenium sources are not equal

Laying hens were used as a model to evaluate the bioavailability and transfer rate of different Se forms in eggs and muscles. Se yeast (Alkosel) was compared to a mineral source (sodium selenite; SS) and two different sources of synthetic selenomethionine (SeMet); SM1 and SM2. The results indicate the superior bioavailability of Alkosel as compared to those three sources of Se. Indeed, Se transfer ratios from feed to the egg yolk and albumen were significantly higher for Se yeast than for inorganic Se or synthetic SeMet sources. This can be explained by the fact that besides SeMet, Alkosel contains other active forms of organic Se, in particular Selenocysteine (SeCys), yielding a total organic selenium content above 98% and Se metabolic pathways in the body involve not only SeMet but also other amino acids, in particular SeCys. Therefore, the combined presence of SeMet and SeCys in Alkosel could offer optimal balance for Se uptake and utilization by the animal. In this trial, eggs from Alkosel fed birds also showed the lowest water loss, a significant sign of egg quality.

"SOD" supports broiler's immune system

Melon superoxide dismutase (SOD) is a source of primary antioxidants used in poultry feeding (Melofeed). It was previously shown to increase the endogenous expression of antioxidant enzymes in the reproductive tract of laying hens. A new study was conducted to evaluate melon SOD efficacy to reinforce antioxidant defenses in broilers and support their immune system when added in pelleted feed.

  • The study confirmed the mode of action of this antioxidant source with the increased expression of endogenous SOD in the birds’ bursa of Fabricius and in the intestine.
  • It also showed the efficacy of this SOD-rich feed ingredient to reinforce the birds’ antioxidant defenses, to support its immune system functioning as shown by analysis of the bursa of Fabricius, the most important organ of birds’ immune system. Furthermore, it helps maintain muscle cells integrity and growth.
  • Finally, the study indicated that melon SOD was compatible with feed pelleting conditions used in this trial (Melon SOD inclusion in broiler feed, pelleting at 65°C for 10s and coating with 1% soya oil).

For more information about these studies, contact: