Effect of administrating an encapsulated blend of organic acids in drinking water on growth performance and small intestine microflora of broiler chickens

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Former MSc Student in Animal Nutrition, Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Guilan, Rasht, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Urmia, Urmia, Iran


Introduction: Organic acids are one of the alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters. They have beneficial effects on poultry performance and gastrointestinal microbial balance. In general, the addition of organic acids to the diet lowers the pH of the diet and gastrointestinal tract, stimulates growth, helps to overcome the population of beneficial bacteria over pathogenic bacteria, and reduces toxic metabolites produced by harmful bacteria. The purpose of this study was to determine the antibacterial effects of encapsulated versus non-encapsulated organic acids (OA) supplementation in drinking water on intestinal microbiota and broilers' growth performance.
Materials and methods: A total of 360-day-old Ross 308 male broiler chicks were divided into six treatments, four replicates, and 15 chicks per replicate in a completely randomized design. The experimental treatments included: a negative control (without organic acids; OA, in drinking water), a positive control (200 mL of a commercial OA, acidifier 4+ in 1000 L drinking water), 500 and 1000 mL non-encapsulated blend of OA, and 500 and 1000 g encapsulated blend of OA in 1000 L drinking water. The blend of OA was composed of butyric, propionic, and acetic acids. Body weight and feed intake were measured weekly on a pen basis. From these data, average daily gain (ADG), average daily feed intake (ADFI), average daily water intake (ADWI) and feed conversion ratio (FCR) were calculated over the total rearing period. The European production efficiency factor (EPEF) was also calculated for the entire period of the trial. On day 42, gastrointestinal samples were collected from a total of 48 sacrificed birds (n = 12 birds from each experimental group) for pH and microflora analysis. Digesta from different sections of the gastrointestinal tract was collected and pH was measured using a digital pH meter. Total coliforms, lactobacilli, and Escherichia coli were counted in ileal digesta using a plate method with the use of a specific medium.
Results and discussion: Broilers with an encapsulated blend of OA in drinking water had higher (P<0.05) body weight, ADG, and EPEF, and lower (P<0.05) FCR than the negative control. Broilers in the PC group and those with OA in their drinking water exhibited greater final BW, ADG, and FCR than those in the NC group (P<0.05) throughout the rearing period (0 to 21 d, 22 to 42 d, and 0 to 42 d). Organic acids can improve broilers' performance by inhibiting the growth of pathogenic bacteria in the intestine. In the current study, administration of encapsulated OA in the drinking water of broilers resulted in lower (P<0.05) pH in jejunum when compared to the negative control. Dietary organic acids reduced the pH of different sections of the gastrointestinal tract of broilers compared to those fed the control diet. The administration of 500 g encapsulated or 1000 mL non-encapsulated blend of OA in the current study resulted in a lower count of E. coli compared with the negative control (P<0.05). The count of E. coli was linearly decreased (P<0.05) in the ileum of broilers with graded levels of the non-encapsulated blend of OA. It seems that the gizzard and stomach of birds drink acidified water were more acidic and might decrease the bacteria that were present in the gastrointestinal tract, especially in the lower gastrointestinal tract. Organic acids provide acidic pH in the gut, which increases beneficial bacteria, and decreases harmful bacteria of broilers.
Conclusions: Growth performance and the European production efficiency factor were generally greater with encapsulated OA compared with non-encapsulated one. Results of the current study showed that administration of 500 mg encapsulated blend of OA was sufficient for achieving the desired results.


Main Subjects

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