Spray-dried plasma: Enhancing gut health and immune function in broilers

10 Feb 2023

Spray-dried plasma: Enhancing gut health and immune function in broilers

Spray-dried plasma as a tool for improving broiler gut health and immune function!

The performance results and health of poultry are influenced by critical factors such as intestinal health and the immune system’s efficiency. Nowadays, detecting new functional ingredients to improve intestinal function is relevant, especially with the reduction in antibiotics. Therefore, feed additives such as Spray-dried plasma (SDP) started to be used in poultry diets due to the beneficial effects observed in swine and cattle.  


This article describes some effects of using SDP reported in a review article from Campbell et al., 2019. 

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The Spray-dried plasma is a dry functional feed additive resulting from processed blood but preserving the functional features of the proteins. This mix of different bioactive proteins and peptides could come from bovine colostrum or colostrum whey. It has been described that SDP contains the following functional components that have biological activity within the gut:

SDP has been widely used in swine and calves showing good results in performance, feed efficiency, and animal survival. This ingredient has been related to different modes of action with direct effects on the immune system, gastrointestinal tract, and respiratory and reproductive systems.

Campbell et al. (2019) indicated that SDP enhanced gut health through different modes of action that can affect the immune inflammatory response and the immunomodulation either locally or systemically and through indirectly modifying microbial populations. “By reducing intestinal inflammation and improving intestinal microbiota profile, SDP may be:

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  • directly preventing the translocation of bacteria or other antigens,
  • modulating the common mucosal immune system to reduce immune activation both locally and systemically and/or
  • increasing the presence of bacterial populations that may shift intestinal immune response toward anti-inflammatory.”

Use of Spray-dried plasma in poultry

>> Research suggests that supplementation with SDP during the first 14 days of age in broilers under a natural necrotic enteritis challenge resulted in 90% survival compared to 50% from the control group. Additionally, chickens fed with SDP showed better gain and feed efficiency.

It was hypothesized that those positive effects are related to better gut health during the first days of age. 

>> Similarly, another study assessing the effects of SDP on performance and immunological responses on Salmonella sofia challenge in broilers indicated that broilers supplemented either with antibiotics or SDP had a higher body weight in the starter and grower phases. SDP broilers exhibited a greater bursa weight.

In this experiment, the authors concluded that:

SDP fed during the starter period impacted the overall inflammatory response and reduced the overstimulation of the immune system, thus positively impacting broiler performance, the development of the immune organs, and gut health during exposure to high challenge conditions.

>>In another study, the level of feeding SDP was evaluated as a solution to change a meat meal on starter diets in broilers and housing in cages. This experiment demonstrated that increasing the SDP inclusion on diets in the first 10 days and up to 35 days of age increased the body weight, and feed per gain was better on those birds. 

Moreover, birds supplemented with SDP showed longer villi, great crypt depth, and a lower villi-to-crypt ratio at 24 days of age.

“The authors indicated that feeding SDP stimulated the development of the small intestinal mucosa, leading to better absorption and utilization of nutrients for biological activities, including growth.”

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