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J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2010 Feb 1;94(1):15-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0396.2008.00876.x. Epub 2009 Nov 12.

Effect of an organic acid blend and phytase added to a rapeseed cake-containing diet on performance, intestinal morphology, caecal microflora activity and thyroid status of broiler chickens.

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  • 1The Kielanowski Institute of Animal Physiology and Nutrition, Polish Academy of Sciences, Jabłonna, Poland. s.smulikowska@ifzz.pan.pl


The experiment was carried out on 96 female broilers, allocated to eight groups of 12 birds kept in individual cages. Two basal wheat- and soyabean meal-based diets containing 150 g/kg of rapeseed expeller cake were formulated, differing in the level of P: 7.1 g/kg in diet H or 5.9 g/kg in diet L. Rapeseed cake supplied 3.15 micromol alkenyl glucosinolates per gram of diet. The eight treatments were: basal diets only, basal diets + phytase (1000 U/kg), basal diets + organic acid blend (OA, 6 g/kg), or basal diets + both additives. Diets were fed from day 8 to 28 of life. The results showed that the lower dietary P content and OA supplementation did not significantly affect feed intake or BWG, while both increased (p < 0.001) after phytase supplementation. Tibia ash content as well as tibia ultimate strength were lower (p < 0.001) in birds fed diets L compared with diets H, and increased (p < 0.01) with phytase supplementation of diet L, while OA had no influence on either parameter. Dietary P levels and OA supplementation had no influence on the pH of gut digesta, but the pH of jejunal digesta increased following phytase supplementation (p < 0.01). Morphological measurements of the small intestinal mucosa of chicks indicated that OA added to diet L depressed villi height (p < 0.001) and crypt depth (p < 0.001); both parameters increased after phytase supplementation (p < 0.01). The lower total SCFA as well as acetic, propionic and butyric acid concentrations in caecal digesta indicated lower activity of caecal microflora in birds fed diets L compared with H. OA supplementation had no influence, while phytase supplementation increased the concentration of acetic acid in caecal digesta. Supplementation of diets with either phytase or OA increased thyroid weight by 16% (p < 0.01) and 11% (p < 0.05) respectively. The increase in thyroid weight because of phytase supplementation was greater at the lower dietary P level, and the greatest when both phytase and OA were added to the diet.

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