Research – Tofu Whey Wastewater as a Beneficial Supplement to Poultry Farming: Improving Production Performance and Protecting against Salmonella Infection

MDPI

Tofu whey wastewater (TWW) is a by-product of the tofu production process, and contains high amounts of organic products and Lactobacillus ap. However, no studies have been reported on whether naturally fermented TWW can be used as a beneficial additive for poultry production. This study analyzed the main nutritional components and microbial flora of naturally fermented TWW from rural tofu processing plants and their effect on chick production performance, role in modulating the biochemical and immune parameters, and protection against Salmonella enteritidis (S. enteritidis) infection. It was observed that the average pH of TWW was 4.08; therefore, the total viable count was 3.00 × 109 CFU/mL and the abundance of Lactobacillus was 92.50%. Moreover, TWW supplementation increased the total weight gain and feed intake, reduced the feed/gain ratio, increased the length and relative weight of the gut, and reduced the colonization and excretion of S. enteritidis in chickens. Additionally, TWW decreased oxidative damage and pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion caused by S. enteritidis infection. In addition, TWW supplementation ensured the structure of the intestine remained relatively intact in S. enteritidis-infected chicken. Furthermore, TWW markedly promoted the intestinal barrier integrity and up-regulated the relative abundance of Lactobacillus, counteracting the changes in gut microbiota caused by S. enteritidis infection in chicken. In conclusion, our data demonstrated that TWW could be used as a beneficial addition to poultry production, providing a research basis for the further development of TWW as a health care application in in food-producing animal.

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