Influence of Phytase and Xylanase Supplementation on Growth Performance and Nutrient Utilisation of Broilers Offered Wheat-based Diets

  • Selle, P.H. (Faculty of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney) ;
  • Ravindran, V. (Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, Massey University) ;
  • Ravindran, G. (Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, Massey University) ;
  • Pittolo, P.H. (Weston Animal Nutrition) ;
  • Bryden, W.L. (School of Animal Studies, The University of Queensland)
  • Received : 2002.08.02
  • Accepted : 2002.11.04
  • Published : 2003.03.01


Individual and combined supplementation of phosphorus-adequate, wheat-based broiler diets with exogenous phytase and xylanase was evaluated in three experiments. The effects of the enzyme combination in lysine-eficient diets containing wheat and sorghum were more pronounced than those of the individual feed enzymes. The inclusion of phytase plus xylanase improved (p<0.05) weight gains (7.3%) and feed efficiency (7.0%) of broilers (7-28 days post-hatch) and apparent metabolisable energy (AME) by 0.76 MJ/kg DM. Phytase plus xylanase increased (p<0.05) the overall, apparent ileal digestibility of amino acids by 4.5% (0.781 to 0.816); this was greater than the responses to either phytase (3.6%; 0.781 to 0.809) or xylanase (0.7%; 0.781 to 0.784). Absolute increases in amino acid digestibility with the combination exceeded the sum of the individual increases generated by phytase and xylanase for alanine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glycine, histidine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, threonine, tyrosine and valine. These synergistic responses may have resulted from phytase and xylanase having complementary modes of action for enhancing amino acid digestibilities and/or facilitating substrate access. The two remaining experiments were almost identical except wheat used in Experiment 2 had a higher phytate concentration and a lower estimated AME content than wheat used in Experiment 3. Individually, phytase and xylanase were generally more effective in Experiment 2, which probably reflects the higher dietary substrate levels present. Phytase plus xylanase increased (p<0.05) gains (15.4%) and feed efficiency (7.0%) of broiler chicks from 4-24 days post-hatch in Experiment 2; whereas, in Experiment 3, the combination increased (p<0.05) growth to a lesser extent (5.6%) and had no effect on feed efficiency. This difference in performance responses appeared to be 'rotein driven'as the combination increased (p<0.05) nitrogen retention in Experiment 2 but not in Experiment 3; whereas phytase plus xylanase significantly increased AME in both experiments. In Experiments 2 and 3 the combined inclusion levels of phytase and xylanase were lower that the individual additions, which demonstrates the benefits of simultaneously including phytase and xylanase in wheat-based poultry diets.


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