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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 50(9)

Effect of some plant extracts on growth performance, intestinal morphology, microflora composition and activity in broiler chickens

J. K. Vidanarachchi B, A. V. Elangovan C, L. L. Mikkelsen A, M. Choct A, P. A. Iji A D

A School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia.
B Department of Animal Science, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya 20400, Sri Lanka.
C National Institute of Animal Nutrition and Physiology, Adugodi, Bangalore 560 030, India.
D Corresponding author. Email: piji@une.edu.au
 
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Abstract

An experiment was conducted to study the effects of water-soluble carbohydrate extracts from Cabbage tree (Cordyline australis), Acacia (Acacia pycnantha), and Undaria seaweed (Undaria pinnatifida) (at 5 or 10 g/kg diet) on the performance and gut microbiota of broilers. The plant extracts had no negative effect on growth performance, except that a high level of Undaria extract in the diet suppressed the growth of broiler chicks. Ileal digesta viscosity was increased (P < 0.05) and apparent ileal digestibility of fat was depressed (P < 0.05) in birds fed the higher level of Undaria extract compared with the negative control. The plant extracts increased (P < 0.05) the numbers of lactobacilli in the ileum and caeca. The high levels of Acacia extract and Undaria extract significantly (P < 0.05) reduced the population of coliform bacteria in the ileum compared with the negative control group. The population of Clostridium perfringens in caeca, but not the ileum, was reduced (P < 0.05) by the plant extracts. An antibiotic positive control reduced the population of C. perfringens in both the ileum and caeca compared with the negative control group. The plant extracts altered microbial fermentation patterns in the ileum and caeca. The higher level of Undaria extract reduced villus height in the ileum while the antibiotic diet resulted in higher (P < 0.05) villus height and villus height : crypt depth ratio compared with the negative control group. The results of the study suggest that prebiotic plant extracts had no negative effect on performance of broilers except at a high level (10 g/kg diet) of Undaria extract. The plant extracts beneficially modulated the composition of the microflora in the ileum and caeca by increasing the number of lactobacilli and reducing harmful bacteria, such as potential pathogenic coliforms and C. perfringens.

   
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