Intestinal Structure and Function of Broiler Chickens on Wheat-Based Diets Supplemented With a Microbial Enzyme

  • Iji, P.A. (Department of Animal & Poultry Science, University of Natal) ;
  • Hughes, R.J. (Pig and Poultry Research Institute, SARDI) ;
  • Choct, M. (Department of Animal Science, University of New England) ;
  • Tivey, D.R. (Department of Animal Science, The University of Adelaide)
  • Received : 2000.04.18
  • Accepted : 2000.07.13
  • Published : 2001.01.01


A study was conducted to assess the nutritive value of two diets based on a low-energy variety of wheat, RAC C1 and their effects on intestinal mucosal structure and function in broiler chickens. The diets were fed with or without microbial enzyme supplement to male and female broiler chickens. The digesta viscosity was reduced (p<0.001) through supplementation with a microbial enzyme in male and female chicks. Enzyme supplementation also improved the dietary apparent metabolizable energy content (p<0.001) and had slight but non-significant positive effects on chick growth and feed conversion ratio. Intestinal mucosal structure and enzyme function were not affected by microbial enzyme supplement. Male chicks consumed more feeds (p<0.001), attained higher final body weight (p<0.001) and were more efficient at feed utilization (p<0.01) than the female chicks. Except for duodenal villus surface area and ileal protein content, intestinal mucosal structure and enzyme activities were similar between the two sexes and dietary treatment groups. The study showed an improvement in the nutritive value of the diets in the presence of the microbial enzyme supplement.


Wheat;Intestinal Enzymes;Intestinal Structure;Non-Starch Polysaccharide;Microbial Enzyme Supplement

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