Influence of Supplemental Enzymes, Yeast Culture and Effective Micro-organism Culture on Gut Micro-flora and Nutrient Digestion at Different Parts of the Rabbit Digestive Tract

  • Samarasinghe, K. (Dept. of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya) ;
  • Shanmuganathan, T. (Dept. of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya) ;
  • Silva, K.F.S.T. (Dept. of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya) ;
  • Wenk, C. (Institute of Animal Science, ETH-Z)
  • Received : 2003.01.20
  • Accepted : 2003.12.31
  • Published : 2004.06.01


An experiment of 10 weeks duration was carried out to study the influence of supplemental effective microorganism (EM) culture, yeast culture and enzymes on nutrient digestibility and gut microflora in rabbit gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Twenty four eight to nine weeks old, New Zealand White rabbits were allotted to four dietary treatments; a basal (control) feed, basal feed supplemented with either EM (1%), yeast culture or enzymes (400 ppm). Nutrient flow in digesta and their digestibility at ileum, caecum, colon and in the total tract as well as gut microflora distribution were studied. Feed dry matter was diluted from 92% to about 14% up to the ileum and about 95% of this water was reabsorbed by the colonic rectal segment followed by caecum (25%). EM and yeast improved protein digestibility at a lower rate than enzymes. Ileal, caecal, colonic and total tract digestibility of crude protein with enzymes were higher by 10.8, 9.4, 11.3 and 10.7%, respectively, as compared to the control. Yeast and enzymes increased crude fiber digestibility at ileum, caecum, colon and in the total tract by 8.5, 9.6, 9.0 and 8.3%, respectively, while EM improved them at a lower rate. Irrespective of treatments, total tract digestibility of crude protein (0.698-0.773) and fiber (0.169-0.183) were greater (p<0.05) than the ileal digestibility. Even though a post-caecal protein digestibility was observed, fiber digestion seemed to be completed in the caecum especially with yeast and enzymes. High precaecal digestibility of crude fiber (97%) and protein (95%) were observed even without additives probably due to caecotrophy. EM and yeast culture promoted the growth of lactic acid bacteria especially in the caecum but they did not influence gut yeast and mould. Present findings reveal that even though rabbits digest nutrients efficiently through hind gut fermentation, they can be further enhanced by EM, yeast and enzymes. Of the three additives tested, enzymes found to be the best.


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