Dietary factors affecting hindgut protein fermentation in broilers: a review

S.N. Qaisrani, M.M. van Krimpen, R.P. Kwakkel, M.W.A. Verstegen, W.H. Hendriks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


High growth rates in modern-day broilers require diets concentrated in digestible protein and energy. In addition to affecting feed conversion efficiency, it is important to prevent surplus dietary protein because of greater amounts of undigested protein entering the hindgut that may be fermented by the resident microbiota. The latter may result in increased formation of a wide range of protein-derived compounds including ammonia, amines, indoles and phenols, in addition to secondary products (lactate, succinate) and gases such as methane, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. In poultry, studies have shown the presence of protein fermentation products such as biogenic amines and branched chain fatty acids (BCFA) in the ileal and caecal digesta. The production and metabolism of nitrogenous waste products (as a result of protein fermentation) such as uric acid and ammonia may lead to a burden on the organism and cause additional energy losses. Although biogenic amines are important for normal gut development, greater concentrations may cause gizzard erosion, mortality and depressed growth rate in broilers. A decrease in indigestible protein reduces hindgut protein fermentation. In broilers, feeding diets with coarse particles (between 600 to 900 µm) and/or using feed additives, such as pre- and probiotics and organic acids, especially butyric acid, may improve protein digestion, thereby, potentially reducing hindgut protein fermentation. Studies are therefore needed to determine the extent and importance of hindgut protein fermentation on performance and gut health in broilers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-160
JournalWorlds Poultry Science Journal
Issue number01
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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