Growth performance and gut health in broilers benefit from fermented bamboo

10-06 | |
Research shows that fermented bamboo promotes the gut health and performance of broiler chickens. Photo: Henk Riswick
Research shows that fermented bamboo promotes the gut health and performance of broiler chickens. Photo: Henk Riswick

Reports show bamboo powder is a relatively cheap raw material with rich insoluble fibre and health-imparting bioactive compounds. In their study published in the Poultry Science journal, researchers demonstrate that fermented bamboo powder promotes intestinal health and development and enhances the growth performance of broiler chickens.

Most research in modern-day poultry nutrition focuses on enhancing feed efficiency by exploring the positive effects of feed additives on the performance and health of birds. In this new study, researchers explored how fermented bamboo powder could activate gut odorant receptors, leading to a positive impact on intestinal health and development and growth performance in chickens. In pigs, studies show that fermented bamboo fibre is a beneficial dietary component that supports health, digestion, immune function and metabolism.

Bamboo powder

Bamboo powder, derived from the rapidly growing bamboo plant, possesses desirable characteristics as a feed source for poultry. It contains varying amounts of polysaccharides, starch, crude protein and insoluble dietary fibre. It also contains minerals which benefit chicken health. In addition, it is reported the fermentation process increases the concentration and bioavailability of certain nutrients compared to the unfermented form. On health aspects, the presence of bioactive substances such as flavonoids and phenolic acids gives the bamboo powder its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, potentially reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in birds.

The study – impact of bamboo powder on broiler gut health

In this study, researchers explored the effects of fermented bamboo powder on gut odorant receptors, intestinal health and the growth performance of dwarf yellow-feathered broiler chickens. Healthy one-day-old chicks were randomly assigned to 2 groups:

  1. The control group where birds were fed a basal diet and,
  2. The experimental group where birds were fed a basal diet supplemented with 1.0, 2.0, 4.0, and 6.0 g/kg fermented bamboo powder during four growth phases (days 1-22, days 23-45, days 46-60, and days 61-77), respectively.

Improving growth performance and meat yield

The results showed that including bamboo powder in broiler diets improves the growth performance and well-being of birds. Although the feed intake was similar, the weight gain was significantly higher in the bamboo diet compared to the control. To measure how efficiently the chickens converted their feed into body weight, the feed conversion ratio (FCR) was determined; the FCR value was lower in the fermented bamboo diet than in the control diet, indicating improvement in feed utilisation with supplementation of the additive. The improvement in growth performance was attributed to the presence of bioactive substances such as flavonoids and phenolic acids which give bamboo powder antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, potentially improving the health of birds by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation. In addition, bamboo powder provides essential minerals such as magnesium, potassium and iron, which are beneficial for chicken health.

Hormorn levels in the gut

On the other hand, dietary factors have a crucial impact on the regulation of gut hormones in animals. These hormones, which are produced by specialised cells in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), play a vital role in modulating digestion, nutrient absorption, appetite control and energy metabolism. In the current study, researchers found higher levels of the hormone cholecystokinin in the GIT of the bamboo-supplemented birds. Research shows that the physiological actions of cholecystokinin include stimulation of pancreatic secretion and gallbladder contraction, regulation of gastric emptying and induction of satiety; in brief, cholecystokinin regulates the ingestion, digestion, and absorption of nutrients, ultimately leading to enhanced growth performance in broiler chickens.

In line with the observed improvement in growth performance, the post-slaughter examinations of the chickens revealed significant increases in the evisceration yield, breast weight, thigh weight and liver weight of chickens fed the fermented bamboo-supplemented diet, in contrast with the control group.

…dietary fibre in bamboo powder offers prebiotic benefits, promoting gut health by stimulating the beneficial microbiota to produce short-chain fatty acids

Maintaining intestinal morphology

The results of this study revealed significant increases in the height of the villus, the depth of the crypt, the ratio between villus height and crypt depth, as well as the area of the villi within the small intestines; the findings suggest that the nutritional components of fermented bamboo promote intestinal health and the development of gut morphology. The results also showed an upregulation of several odorant receptors in the gizzard, proventriculus, and small intestine of chickens fed with the bamboo diet; the activation of gut odorant receptors was attributed to an improvement in gut health. “The study suggests that these receptors may play significant roles in various aspects of gut physiology and function, similar to findings in mice,” the researchers concluded.

They added that the dietary fibre in bamboo powder offers prebiotic benefits, promoting gut health by stimulating the beneficial microbiota to produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), mentioning that, in turn, certain odorant receptors in the gastrointestinal system can be activated by SCFAs that the gut bacteria produce during the fermentation of dietary fibre. “These receptors might be important in regulating gastrointestinal processes as they detect molecules produced by microbes in the gut,” they said.

Concluding remarks

This study demonstrates that fermented bamboo powder activates gut odorant receptors and gut hormones, thus promoting intestinal health and development, and enhancing the growth performance of broiler chickens. According to the researchers, the inclusion of fermented bamboo powder in chicken diets offers a potentially sustainable and economically viable option for improving poultry nutrition while supporting the overall health and welfare of birds. The researchers also highlighted the fact that their findings provide a solid groundwork for future investigations aimed at exploring the precise functions and recognition mechanisms of odorant receptors in the GIT of poultry.

The article is based on the publication: Fermented bamboo powder activates gut odorant receptors, and promotes intestinal health and growth performance of dwarf yellow-feathered broiler chickens. Poultry Science, Vol 103, Issue 5, 2024.

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Wedzerai
Matthew Wedzerai Correspondent





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