The aim of this study was to investigate the effect on growth performance and nutrient utilisation when supplementing diets deficient in energy and protein with carbohydrase enzymes or xylo-oligosaccharide in broilers challenged with coccidia. 960 Ross 308 broilers were used in this 21-day study. The treatments were arranged into a 2×4 factorial with 2 challenge states (challenged and non-challenged) and 4 different additive types (control, xylanase alone, xylanase and β-glucanase mixture and xylo-oligosaccharide). On day 14, the challenged group received 12× the recommended dose of coccidiosis vaccine while the non-challenged group received a sham treatment of water only. The birds and feed were weighed on days 0, 14 and 21. On day 21, two birds per pen were euthanized, the caeca were removed and the contents collected for short chain fatty acid analysis. Six more birds per pen were euthanized and ileal digesta were collected and pooled per pen for nutrient digestibility analysis. Feed intake was greater (P < 0.05) on days 14 and 21 when xylo-oligosaccharide was included in the diet compared to the xylanase and β-glucanase mixture in birds challenged with coccidiosis. Including xylo-oligosaccharide in the diet improved (P < 0.05) the digestibility of nitrogen and supplementing diets with the xylanase and β-glucanase mixture improved (P < 0.05) the digestibility of several amino acids. The concentration of arabinose and xylose was (P < 0.001) greater when broiler diets were supplemented with carbohydrase enzymes or xylo-oligosaccharide compared to the control. Although there was an increase in short chain fatty acid production due to the addition of carbohydrase enzymes or xylo-oligosaccharide, there was no additive effect on the %G+C profile of caecal bacteria however there was a negative effect of coccidiosis. In conclusion, the similarity in the response to carbohydrase enzymes or xylo-oligosaccharide supplementation illustrates that the hydrolysis products from carbohydrase activity may have prebiotic like effects.
- short chain fatty acid
- %G+C profile