CANADA- A recent Canadian study has discovered that incorporating enzymatically modified canola meal into broiler chicken production can positively impact gut health. 

The study was conducted by researchers from CBS Bio Platforms and the Department of Animal Science at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. 

It sought to assess the effects of enzymatically modified canola meal (ECM) on broiler chicken growth, microbiota development in the ileum and ceca, short-chain fatty acid concentration, mucin production, and nutrient utilization, including non-starch polysaccharides (NSP). 

The researchers believed that modifying the NSP in a canola meal with a multi-carbohydrase preparation would create a value-added product with prebiotic and probiotic properties for broiler chickens, promoting gut health.

In addition to ECM, the study also explored the effects of adding multi-carbohydrase enzymes directly to diets containing regular canola meal. 

In the study, birds were fed a control starter diet throughout the four-day pre-experimental period to allow for yolk sac absorption. On day four, chicks were randomly allocated to five  experimental diets using eight birds per cage and eight replicate cages per treatment.

Birds were fed the starter (4–14d of age, 100 g/kg CM), and grower (14–21d of age, 200 g/kg of CM) control diet and control diets supplemented with ECM (Low and High) or enzymes (E1 and E2).

In the ECM-containing diets, ECM replaced either 50 g/kg (Low ECM diet) or the entire CM (High ECM diet) of the control diets.

In the E1 and E2 diets, the enzyme blend was supplemented at 1.25 g/kg and 12.5 g/kg of the starter control diet and 2.5 g/kg and 25 g/kg of the grower control diet, respectively.

The dosage of enzymes in experimental diets was much higher than that used in commercial practice, and it was applied here to prove the concept.

Results 

The researchers found that ECM did not impact broiler growth performance but significantly improved NSP digestibility and nitrogen-corrected apparent metabolizable energy content. 

Furthermore, the ECM-containing diets led to decreased sialic acid secretion and increased the abundance of Lactobacillus in the ileum and ceca compared to control diets with enzyme supplementation.

The study also observed a significant reduction in Escherichia coli (E. coli) in the ceca of birds fed ECM-containing diets. 

Additionally, the total short-chain fatty acid content in the cecal digesta of birds on the ECM-containing starter diet increased significantly compared to the control. 

While enzyme supplementation improved nutrient digestibility, it was less effective in modulating the gut microbiome compared to ECM.

While replacing regular canola meal with its enzymatically modified counterpart did not result in improvements in broiler growth performance, it resulted in several beneficial effects on gut health. 

This included the modulation of mucin secretion, changes in the microbiota community, and an increase in cecal concentration of short-chain fatty acids, as reported in the Journal of Animal Feed Science and Technology.

In conclusion, the researchers found that replacing regular canola meal with enzymatically modified canola meal positively impacted gut health, and could serve as a valuable feed ingredient or additive for broiler chickens.

Replacing CM with ECM improved nutrient digestibility and increased the presence of probiotic organisms which was not observed in the enzyme-supplemented diets. Therefore, ECM can improve gut health and could be used as a valuable feed ingredient or additive,” they concluded.

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