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Effect of Ferric Sulfate Application on Clostridium spp in Poultry Litter

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  10th International Livestock Environment Symposium (ILES X)  .(doi:10.13031/iles.18-114)
Authors:   Hong Li, Amy Biddle
Keywords:   Poultry, litter, acid, clostridia, ammonia

Abstract. A study was performed to evaluate the effects of ferric sulfate on Clostridium spp in poultry litter and ammonia emission. Litter samples were treated with ferric sulfate at different rates and compared to untreated samples. The results showed that increasing ferric sulfate application rate reduced Clostridial counts in litter. The rates of 732 and 976 g/m2 had highest reduction on the counts for both 20% and 30% moisture contents. For wetter litter (30% moisture), it took longer time (8 days) for ferric sulfate to effectively reduce the Clostridial counts. ferric sulfate had higher count reduction than sodium bisulfate at the same rate (488 g/m2) with 30% moisture. In addition, one flock of broilers was raised in isolated environmental controlled emission chambers over 42 days. Ferric sulfate at two different rates (488 and 976 g/m2) was surfaced applied to treat litter before chick placement. Litter samples were collected at different ages (-1, 7, 14, 28, and 42 days of age). DNA was extracted from each litter sample in triplicate and sequenced using primers specific for the bacterial 16S rRNA gene. Sequence data was analyzed using a custom bioinformatics pipeline to generate abundance profiles for each sample at each time point at the finest possible taxonomic resolution. NH3 concentration and emissions and bird growth performance of each treatment were monitored continuously. The results showed there was no significant difference in bacterial abundance between loose and cake litter at the genus level. The highest concentration of ferric sulfate had the highest abundance of Clostridia at most time points while no treatment had the lowest. Overall, time affected bacterial abundance more than the concentration of ferric sulfate. To conclude, the abundance of Clostridial groups at all taxonomic levels were not inhibited by ferric sulfate treatment. Increasing ferric sulfate rate significantly reduce ammonia emission by 17% to 23% and increased feed conversion efficiency.

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