Effects of Protease, Phytase and a Bacillus sp. Direct-Fed Microbial on Nutrient and Energy Digestibility, Ileal Brush Border Digestive Enzyme Activity and Cecal Short-Chain Fatty Acid Concentration in Broiler Chickens

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Two experiments were conducted to determine the effects of protease and phytase (PP) and a Bacillus sp. direct-fed microbial (DFM) on dietary energy and nutrient utilization in broiler chickens. In the first experiment, Ross 308 broiler chicks were fed diets supplemented with PP and DFM in a 2×2 factorial arrangement. The 4 diets (control (CON), CON + PP, CON + DFM, and CON + PP + DFM) were fed from 15–21 days of age. In Experiment 1, significant interaction (P≤0.01) between PP and DFM on the apparent ileal digestibility coefficient for starch, crude protein, and amino acid indicated that both additives increased the digestibility. Both additives increased the nitrogen retention coefficient with a significant interaction (P≤0.01). Although no interaction was observed, significant main effects (P≤0.01) for nitrogen-corrected apparent ME (AMEn) for PP or DFM indicated an additive response. In a follow-up experiment, Ross 308 broiler chicks were fed the same experimental diets from 1–21 days of age. Activities of ileal brush border maltase, sucrase, and L-alanine aminopeptidase were increased (P≤0.01) by PP addition, while a trend (P = 0.07) for increased sucrase activity was observed in chickens fed DFM, in Experiment 2. The proportion of cecal butyrate was increased (P≤0.01) by DFM addition. Increased nutrient utilization and nitrogen retention appear to involve separate but complementary mechanisms for PP and DFM, however AMEn responses appear to have separate and additive mechanisms.