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Poult Sci. 2003 Jun;82(6):1030-6.

Effects of dietary fructooligosaccharide on digestive enzyme activities, intestinal microflora and morphology of male broilers.

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  • 1Zhejiang University, Animal Science College, Key Laboratory of Molecular Animal Nutrition, Ministry of Education, HangZhou, 310029, P. R. China.


Two hundred forty male Avian Farms broiler chicks, 1 d of age, were randomly allocated to four treatments, each of which had five pens of 12 chicks per pen. The chicks were used to investigate the effects of fructooligosaccharide (FOS) on digestive enzyme activities and intestinal microflora and morphology. The chicks received the same basal diet based on corn-soybean meal, and FOS was added to the basal diet at 0, 2.0, 4.0, and 8.0 g/kg diet at the expense of corn. Addition of 4.0 g/kg FOS to the basal diet significantly increased average daily gain of broilers. The feed-to-gain ratios were significantly decreased for the birds fed diets with 2.0 and 4.0 g/kg FOS versus the control. Addition of 4.0 g/kg FOS enhanced the growth of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, but inhibited Escherichia coli in the small intestinal and cecal digesta. Supplementation of 2.0 or 4.0 g/kg FOS to chicks significantly improved the activities of amylase compared to the control (12.80 or 14.75 vs. 8.42 Somogyi units). A significant increase in the activities of total protease was observed in 4.0 g/kg FOS-treated birds versus controls (83.91 vs. 65.97 units). Morphology data for the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum showed no significant differences for villus height, crypt depth, or microvillus height at the duodenum. By contrast, addition of 4.0 g/kg FOS significantly increased ileal villus height, jejunal and ileal microvillus height, and villus-height-to-crypt-depth ratios at the jejunum and ileum and decreased crypt depth at the jejunum and ileum. However, addition of 8.0 g/kg FOS had no significant effect on growth performance, digestive enzyme activities, intestinal microflora, or morphology.

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