“I’ve been taking this kind of live active yeast and looking at the past, taking it all the way to the current and some recent new data on how this active yeast could potentially be a great tool for some forms of production,” Bill Potter, Ph.D., food safety technical advisor, Elanco, explained at the 2023 Poultry Tech Summit.
What makes Saccharomyces cerevisiae boulardii special?
Saccharomyces cerevisiae boulardii was originally discovered in the quest to improve wine processing.
In 1920, Henry Boulard traveled to IndoChina to search for new strains of yeast that can be used during the fermenting process. Unfortunately, this visit occurred at the same time as a cholera outbreak at the time.
“He noticed that some of the natives in the area were going to certain plants, particularly the lychee fruit,” said Potter, noting that tea from this fruit provided relief from intestinal tract problems caused by the cholera.
“As they say, the rest is history,” he added.
Food safety benefits to poultry
The active live yeast has three modes of action; impact on microbiome balance, improvement in natural defenses and improvement in gut integrity.
One of the most unique characteristics of Saccharomyces cerevisiae boulardii is that it can sequester oxygen. In other words, it takes away oxygen that can otherwise by used by Salmonella, E. coli and other pathogens in the poultry gut, improving food safety.
In commercial trials, broilers supplemented with Saccharomyces cerevisiae boulardii showed significant reductions in pathogen colonization. Similar decreases in E. coli were seen in a layer operation during another study.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae boulardii isn’t a silver bullet, Potter cautioned, but when the yeast is fed in combination with other management strategies, food safety can be improved.