Immunological responses of broiler chicks can be modulated by dietary supplementation of zinc-methionine in place of inorganic zinc sources.


Poultry possess limited natural resistance against many infectious

diseases; hence, the poultry industry relies on the application of

antibiotics or related medications to increase disease resistance within

poultry flocks. However, this practice has accompanied the prevalence

and establishment of antibiotic-resistant species within the human

populations (Ratcliff, 2000; Phillips et al., 2004). Consequently, the

use of antibiotics in livestock production is being faced with extensive

limitations, and the poultry industry is compelled to find appropriate

alternatives for antibiotics to increase disease resistance in poultry

flocks as well as to maintain accessible markets for poultry products

(Abdukalykova and Ruiz-Feria, 2006).

It is known that nutrition plays a critical role in the modulation

of immune responses (Klasing, 1998; Kidd, 2004). Zinc has been shown to

directly influence the immune system (Kirchgessner et al., 1976). Zinc

has an important role in numerous biological processes and is an

essential component of many enzymes (Vallee and Auld, 1990) with both

structural and catalytic functions in metalloenzymes (O’Dell,

1992). This element is required for normal immune function (Dardenne and

Bach, 1993; Kidd et al., 1996). When there are zinc deficiencies, thymic thymic

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