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J Nutr. 1992 Mar;122(3):560-9.

Reduction of intestinal viscosity through manipulation of dietary rye and pentosanase concentration is effected through changes in the carbohydrate composition of the intestinal aqueous phase and results in improved growth rate and food conversion efficiency of broiler chicks.

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  • 1Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.


The effect of dietary rye (0, 200, 400 and 600 g/kg substituting for wheat) and pentosanase concentration (0, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 g/kg) on weight gain, molecular weight distribution of soluble carbohydrates in the intestinal lumen and lumenal viscosity in broiler chicks was investigated. A 4 x 6 factorial design was used with four replicates per treatment and six birds per replicate pen. Diets were fed from 1 to 19 d of age, at which time body weight, food intake and intestinal viscosity and molecular weight distribution of carbohydrate complexes in proximal and distal gut sections were determined. Weight gain and food conversion efficiency (FCE) improved with increasing pentosanase and decreasing rye concentration. Intestinal viscosity, which rose as digesta passed from the proximal to distal small intestine, fell with pentosanase addition and decreasing rye concentration. Intestinal viscosity, which correlated positively with reduced weight gain and FCE, was in turn correlated with the lumenal concentration of soluble high-molecular-weight carbohydrates (HMC, greater than 500 kDa), which constituted less than 15% of the total lumenal carbohydrate concentration. The arabinose and xylose content of the HMC increased with increasing rye concentration, suggesting that HMC composition in addition to concentration may determine intestinal viscosity. The results indicate that pentosanase isolated from rye by extraction methods may not be representative of those released by digestion.

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