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A multiplatform metabolomic approach to characterize fecal signatures of negative postnatal events in chicks : a pilot study

Negative experiences in early life can induce long-lasting effects on the welfare, health, and performance of farm animals. A delayed placement of chicks in rearing houses has negative effects on their performance, and results in fecal-specific odors detectable by rats. Based on this observation, the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and metabolites from the feces of 12-day-old chickens were screened for early markers of response to negative events using gas-chromatography and liquid-chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS, LC-HRMS).

Poussins à l'éclosion.. © INRA, SLAGMULDER Christian
Updated on 07/04/2019
Published on 07/04/2019

The low reproducibility of solid-phase micro-extraction of the VOCs followed by GC-MS was not suitable for marker discovery, in contrast to liquid extraction of metabolites from freeze-dried feces followed by GC-MS or LC-HRMS analysis. Therefore, the fecal metabolome from 12-day-old chicks having experienced a normal or delayed placement were recorded by GC-MS and LC-HRMS in two genotypes from two experiments. From both experiments, 25 and 35 metabolites, respectively explaining 81% and 45% of the difference between delayed and control chickens, were identified by orthogonal partial least-squares discriminant analysis from LC-HRMS and GC-MS profiling.
The sets of molecules identified will be useful to better understand the chicks’ response to negative events over time and will contribute to define stress or welfare biomarkers.

Scientific contact(s):

Associated Division(s):
Animal Physiology and Livestock Systems
Associated Centre(s):
Val de Loire


Article  :

Beauclercq, S.; Lefevre, A.; Montigny, F.; Collin, A.; Tesseraud, S.; Leterrier, C.; Emond, P.; Guilloteau, L.A., 2019. A multiplatform metabolomic approach to characterize fecal signatures of negative postnatal events in chicks: a pilot study. Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, 10: 21.

Other article cited :

Bombail V, Barret B, Raynaud A, Jerôme N, Saint-Albin A, Ridder C, et al. In search of stress odours across species: behavioural responses of rats to faeces from chickens and rats subjected to various types of stressful events. Appl Anim Behav Sci. 2018. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.APPLANIM.2017.10.013