Development of the in vitro Cecal Chicken ALIMEntary tRact mOdel-2 to Study Microbiota Composition and Function

Miriam J Oost, Francisca C Velkers, Aletta D Kraneveld, Koen Venema*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The digestive system of the chicken plays an important role in metabolism, immunity, and chicken health and production performance. The chicken ceca harbor a diverse microbial community and play a crucial role in the microbial fermentation and production of energy-rich short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). For humans, dogs, and piglets in vitro digestive system models have been developed and are used to study the microbiota composition and metabolism after intervention studies. For chickens, most research on the cecal microbiota has been performed in in vivo experiments or in static in vitro models that may not accurately resemble the in vivo situations. This paper introduces an optimized digestive system model that simulates the conditions in the ceca of the chicken, i.e., the Chicken ALIMEntary tRact mOdel-2 (CALIMERO-2). The system is based on the well-validated TNO in vitro model of the colon-2 (TIM-2) and is the first dynamic in vitro digestion model for chickens species. To validate this model, the pH, temperature, and different types of microbial feeding were compared and analyzed, to best mimic the conditions in the chicken ceca. The bacterial composition, as well as the metabolite production at 72 h, showed no significant difference between the different microbial feedings. Moreover, we compared the CALIMERO-2 digestive samples to the original inoculum and found some significant shifts in bacterial composition after the fermentation started. Over time the bacterial diversity increased and became more similar to the original inoculum. We can conclude that CALIMERO-2 is reproducible and can be used as a digestive system model for the chicken ceca, in which the microbial composition and activity can be maintained and shows similar results to the in vivo cecum. CALIMERO-2 can be used to study effects on composition and activity of the chicken cecum microbiota in response to in-feed interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number726447
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2021


  • in vitro cecal model
  • chicken
  • bacterial composition
  • SIEM


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