Effects of Dietary Supplementation with the Combination of Zeolite and Attapulgite on Growth Performance, Nutrient Digestibility, Secretion of Digestive Enzymes and Intestinal Health in Broiler Chickens

  • Zhou, P. (College of Animal Science and Technology, Synergetic Innovation Center of Food Safety and Nutrition, Nanjing Agricultural University) ;
  • Tan, Y.Q. (College of Animal Science and Technology, Synergetic Innovation Center of Food Safety and Nutrition, Nanjing Agricultural University) ;
  • Zhang, L. (College of Animal Science and Technology, Synergetic Innovation Center of Food Safety and Nutrition, Nanjing Agricultural University) ;
  • Zhou, Y.M. (College of Animal Science and Technology, Synergetic Innovation Center of Food Safety and Nutrition, Nanjing Agricultural University) ;
  • Gao, F. (College of Animal Science and Technology, Synergetic Innovation Center of Food Safety and Nutrition, Nanjing Agricultural University) ;
  • Zhou, G.H. (College of Animal Science and Technology, Synergetic Innovation Center of Food Safety and Nutrition, Nanjing Agricultural University)
  • Received : 2014.03.20
  • Accepted : 2014.05.20
  • Published : 2014.09.01


This study was designed to investigate the effects of basal diets supplemented with a clay product consisting of zeolite and attapulgite (ZA) at 1:1 ratio on growth performance, digestibility of feed nutrients, activities of digestive enzymes in small intestine and intestinal health in broiler chickens. In experiment 1, 112 one-day-old male chickens were randomly divided into 2 groups with 8 replicates of 7 chickens each. In experiment 2, 84 one-day-old male chickens were randomly allocated into 2 groups consisting 6 replicates of 7 chickens each. The experimental diets both consisted of a maize-soybean basal control diet supplemented with 0% or 2% ZA. The diets were fed from 1 to 42 days of age. The results showed that ZA supplementation could increase body weight gain (BWG) and feed intake (FI), but had no significant effect on feed conversion ratio. The apparent digestibility values of crude protein and gross energy were significantly increased (p<0.05) by ZA from 14 to 16 d and 35 to 37 d. Dietary ZA treatment significantly increased (p<0.05) the activities of amylase, lipase and trypsin in jejunal digesta and the activities of maltase and sucrase in jejunal mucosa on days 21 and 42. The ZA supplementation also significantly increased (p<0.05) the catalase activity, reduced (p<0.05) the malondialdehyde concentration in the jejunal mucosa. In addition, a decrease of serum diamine oxidase activity and an increase (p<0.05) in concentration of secretory immunoglobulin A in jejunal mucosa were observed in birds treated with ZA on 21 and 42 days. It is concluded that ZA supplementation (2%) could partially improve the growth performance by increasing BWG and FI. This improvement was achieved through increasing the secretion of digestive enzymes, enhancing the digestibilites of nutrients, promoting intestinal health of broiler chickens.


Attapulgite;Broiler;Growth Performance;Intestinal Health;Zeolite


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