Authors: Andrea Ianni, Francesca Bennato, Veronica Di Gianvittorio, Marco Di Domenico, Camillo Martino, Martina Colapietro, Cesare Cammà, Giuseppe Martino


  • Faculty of BioScience and Technology for Food, Agriculture and Environment, University of Teramo, Via Renato Balzarini 1, 64100 Teramo, Italy
  • Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell’Abruzzo e del Molise “G. Caporale”, Via Campo Boario, 64100 Teramo (TE), Italy

Publication: Animal Bioscience

Date: March, 2022

Link: Impact of different shades of light-emitting diode on fecal microbiota and gut health in broiler chickens


Objective: The aim of this study was to characterize the fecal microbiota of broiler chickens reared in the presence of different shades of light-emitting diode (LED) lights, correlating this information with biochemical and molecular evidence that allowed drawing conclusions on the state of health of the animals.

Methods: Overall, the metagenomic approach on fecal samples was associated with evaluations on enzymes involved in the cellular response to oxidative stress: glutathione peroxidase (GPX), superoxide dismutase and catalase; while the inflammatory aspect was studied through the dosage of a proinflammatory cytokine, the interleukin 6 (IL-6), and the evaluation of the matrix metalloproteinases 2 (MMP-2) and 9 (MMP-9). Specifically, analysis was performed on distinct groups of chickens respectively raised in the presence of neutral (K = 3,300 to 3,700), cool (K = 5,500 to 6,000), and warm (K = 3,000 to 2,500) LED lightings, and a direct comparison was performed with animals reared with traditional neon lights.

Results: The metagenomic analysis highlighted the presence of two most abundant bacterial phyla, the Firmicutes and the Bacteroidetes, with the latter characterized by a greater relative abundance (p<0.05) in the group of animals reared with Neutral LED light. The analysis on the enzymes involved in the antioxidant response showed an effect of the LED light, regardless of the applied shade, of reducing the expression of GPX (p<0.01), although this parameter is not correlated to an effective reduction in the tissue amount of the enzyme. Regarding the inflammatory state, no differences associated with IL-6 and MMP-9 were found; however, is noteworthy the significant reduction of MMP-2 activity in tissue samples obtained from animals subjected to illumination with neutral LED light.

Conclusion: This evidence, combined with the metagenomic findings, supports a potential positive effect of neutral LED lighting on animal welfare, although these considerations must be reflected in more targeted biochemical evaluations.