Effects of Xylanase on Growth and Gut Development of Broiler Chickens Given a Wheat-based Diet

  • Yang, Y. (School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England) ;
  • Iji, P.A. (School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England) ;
  • Kocher, A. (Alltech Biotechnology P/L 68-70 Nissan Drive) ;
  • Mikkelsen, L.L. (School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England) ;
  • Choct, M. (Australian Poultry Science CRC, PO Box U242, University of New England)
  • Received : 2008.01.30
  • Accepted : 2008.04.16
  • Published : 2008.11.01


To study the working mechanisms for non-starch polysaccharidases to improve the growth performance of broiler chickens, a 21-day feeding trial was conducted. Two dietary treatments were included: 1) wheat diet (the control); 2) wheat+xylanase diet (xylanase, Allzyme PT, Alltech, Kentucky, USA). There were 8 replicates with 8 birds each for each treatment and the experimental diets were given to birds from hatch. Feed intake and body weight were measured on days 7 and 21. At the same ages, samples were taken for the determination of selected groups of luminal and mucosa-associated bacteria, mucosal morphology, brush-border membrane (BBM) bound enzyme activity and ileal nutrient digestibility. The xylanase supplement increased (p<0.05) body weight gain (BWG) and improved feed conversion ratio (FCR) at the end of the experiment but protein and starch digestibilities were not affected (p>0.05) by xylanase. Up to day 7, xylanase increased the counts of C. perfringens in the ileum and total anaerobic bacteria (TAB) in the caeca (p<0.05, p=0.07, respectively). By day 21, the counts of ileal lactobacilli (p<0.05) and TAB (p=0.07) were lower in birds given the xylanase-supplemented diet than in those on the control diet. No significant differences were observed in the counts of mucosa-associated lactobacilli and coliforms between xylanase treatment and the control at both ages. Villus height at the jejunum was not affected (p>0.05) by the supplement but crypt depth at the same site was reduced at day 7. Also, xylanase tended to increase the concentration of BBM protein (p = 0.09) and the specific activity of sucrase (p = 0.07) at day 21.


Xylanase;Growth Performance;Nutrient Digestibility;Gut Microflora;Intestinal Mucosal Morphology;Specific Activity of BBM Bound Enzymes


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