CARBO-CLICK: CARbohydrate BOosted ControL of Intestinal Immunity in ChicKens


Widespread antimicrobial use in farm animals has contributed to the emergence of antimicrobial resistant microbes, which can negatively affect public health, due to an increased incidence of treatment failure. A typical example and well-recognized veterinary health problem is early-life coccidiosis in poultry, caused by protozoan parasites Eimeria. Eimeria-induced intestinal disease predisposes for overgrowth by harmful gut bacteria (Clostridium). Subsequent necrotic enteritis is the most clinically dramatic bacterial enteric disease of poultry requiring antibacterial treatment. Novel control strategies for Eimeria infections are important to reduce preventive and therapeutic antimicrobial treatments. Beneficial effects of prebiotic carbohydrates (‘carbobiotics’) in Eimeria infected broilers have been shown. For evaluation and adaptions of carbobiotics towards application as replacements of antimicrobials, in-depth knowledge and in-vitro tools to assess its efficacy are needed.
Exploiting expertise in gut microbiology, immunopharmacology, immunology, organoids, poultry and Eimeria, an innovative translational in-vitro workflow will be designed to evaluate anti-infective and immune-fitness promoting effects of oligosaccharides with Eimeria infections as model antigen. This workflow will include two innovative in-vitro approaches: the Chicken ALIMEntary tRact mOdel (CALIMERO, based on TNO Intestinal Model) and co-cultures of broiler gut-organoids with innate immune cells combined with microbiota. Subsequently, this workflow, mimicking the entire broiler gut functionality, will be developed for humans.
By testing effects of potential carbobiotics on early-life intestinal barrier and immune functions, we provide an efficient approach to evaluate its anti-infective and gut health-promoting effects. Successful carbobiotics can be applied to improve broiler and human gut health and will reduce antibiotic use.


Project number


Main applicant

Prof. dr. J.A. Stegeman

Affiliated with

Universiteit Utrecht, Faculteit Diergeneeskunde, Departement Gezondheidszorg Landbouwhuisdieren


01/03/2018 to 01/03/2022