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Carbohydrate-degrading enzymes to restore gut health in broilers

poulet, blé
Multi-enzyme preparations (MEPs) that degrade parietal polysaccharides have been used to improve the performance of broilers.

Gut health problems cause big economic losses in poultry farming. Carbohydrate-degrading multi-enzyme preparations (MEPs) have shown an improvement in animal performance related to the partial depolymerization of parietal polysaccharides from wheat grain. The presence of MEP increases the amount of short-chain arabinoxylans (SC-AX) without producing oligosaccharides. These fractions were incorporated into a wheat-based diet to feed broilers for 2 weeks after hatching, and their effects on broiler performances, gut health, short-chain fatty acid production and gut microbiota composition were studied. The results show that the presence of SC-AX in the feed significantly increases chick weight gain and promotes the growth of butyrate-producing bacteria (Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae). Gut inflammation was also decreased, which may be connected with the increase in butyrate, which is known to have anti-inflammatory effects and stimulate L-cells that produce gastrointestinal hormones needed for good broiler gut health.


This work was performed as part of doctoral research by Nadia Yacoubi (2014-2016), hosted within the Plant Cell Wall and Parietal Polysaccharides team of the BIA Unit under co-supervision with the  Pathology, Bacteriology and Poultry Diseases department of Ghent University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Belgium. This doctoral research was supported by a CIFRE (industrial research placement training) grant arranged between the  ANRT and industry partner ADISSEO.


Yacoubi N., Van Immerseel F., Ducatelle R., Rhayat L., Bonnin E., Saulnier L., 2016. Water-soluble fractions obtained by enzymatic treatment of wheat grains promote short chain fatty acids production by broiler cecal microbiota. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 218, 110-119.

Yacoubi N., Saulnier L., Bonnin E., Devillard E., Eeckhaut V., Rhayat L., Ducatelle R. and Van Immerseel F., 2017. Short-chain arabinoxylans prepared from enzymatically treated wheat grain exert prebiotic effects during the broiler starter period. Poultry Science, Volume 97, Issue 2, February 2018, Pages 412–424,