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J Anim Sci. 2011 Dec;89(12):4100-8. doi: 10.2527/jas.2011-4045. Epub 2011 Aug 5.

Effects of exogenous enzymes in corn-based and Canadian pearl millet-based diets with reduced soybean meal on growth performance, intestinal nutrient digestibility, villus development, and selected microbial populations in broiler chickens.

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Animal Science Department, McGill University, Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Québec, Canada.


An experiment was conducted to compare a commercial corn-soybean meal diet with a pearl millet diet containing less soybean meal (-27%), alone or in combination with exogenous enzymes, on growth performance, jejunal villus development, ileal CP, and AA digestibility, and cecal microbial populations in broilers. One hundred sixty 1-d-old male Ross 508 broilers (5/cage) were randomly allocated to one of the following dietary treatments: 1) a standard corn-soybean meal control diet (CTL); 2) a pearl millet-soybean meal diet (PM); 3) CTL + exogenous enzymes (CE); and 4) PM + exogenous enzymes (PE) with 8 replicate cages/treatment. The PM and PE diets contained less soybean meal because of greater CP and AA contents of pearl millet. All diets were isonitrogenous and isocaloric. Body weight and feed intake were recorded weekly over 35 d. At d 21 and 35, 8 broilers per treatment were euthanized for sample collection and analyses. Gain-to-feed was greater (P < 0.01) for pearl millet- than corn-based diets. Apparent ileal digestibility (AID) of CP and most AA was similar between corn-based and pearl millet-based diets, and enzyme supplementation improved AID of CP (P < 0.01) and most AA at both d 21 and 35. However, for AID of some AA at d 21, the response to enzyme supplementation was less pronounced in broilers fed pearl millet-based diets than those fed corn-based diets (grain × enzyme, P ≤ 0.05). The villus was longer (P < 0.01) in broilers fed PM and PE than CTL and CE at d 35. Similarly, at d 35, lactobacilli loads were greater (P < 0.01) in broilers fed PM and PE than CTL and CE. It is concluded that, in comparison with corn, broiler diets formulated with pearl millet require less soybean meal and can be used to improve growth performance traits, intestinal lactobacilli populations, and villus development, whereas enzyme supplementation increases AID of CP and AA.

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