Effects of rye inclusion in diets on broiler performance, gut morphology and microbiota composition

M.M. van Krimpen, Mehran Torki, S.M. Borgijink, D. Schokker, S.A. Vastenhouw, F.M. de Bree, A. Bossers, T. Fabri, Naomi de Bruijn, A.J.M. Jansman, J.M.J. Rebel, M.A. Smits, R.A. van Emous

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


It has been hypothesized that dietary inclusion of rye would increase viscosity of intestinal
digesta, consequently resulting in an effect on nutrient absorption, gut wall morphology,
composition of microbiota, and immunity-related processes in the gut wall, and it might be a
helpful model ingredient to investigate the negative effects of nutrition on immune competence
parameters of the birds. In this experiment the effects of dietary inclusion of three levels (0, 5,
and 10%) of rye between 14 and 28 days of age on gut health, digesta microbiota composition,
expression of genes in the small intestinal tissue and performance in broilers were investigated.
A total of 960 day-old male Ross 308 chicks were allocated to 24 pens (40 birds per pen).
Inclusion of 10% rye in the diet did not affect feed intake, but decreased body weight gain, and
increased feed conversion ratio. Litter quality was inversely related to the level of rye inclusion
in the diet. Providing rye-rich diets resulted in increased jejunal villus height and crypt depth
during the first week of provision, whereas the villus-crypt ratio was not affected. During the
second week of the experiment, however, the level of rye inclusion had no effect on jejunal
gut morphology. Inclusion of rye into the diet did not affect the number and size of jejunal
goblet cells. Dietary inclusion of rye did not affect the diversity of the jejunal microbiota,
as determined by the Shannon index, although specific microbial strains were affected by
rye inclusion. Lactobacillus species made about 75-80% of the jejunal microbiota, and rye
inclusion resulted in an exchange between the different lactobacillus species. At d28, the share
of Lactobacillus reuteri, Staphylococcus saporphyticus and Aerococcaceae in the microbiota in jejunal digesta decreased with increasing dietary rye. Dietary rye inclusion affected expression of genes in the small intestinal tissue involved in cell cycle processes of the epithelial cells, including proliferation, differentiation, motility, and survival, as well as in the complement and coagulation cascade. At 28 d of age, effects were more pronounced in birds fed the 10% rye diet, compared to birds fed the 5% rye diet. In conclusion, inclusion of 5% or 10% rye to the grower diet of broilers have limited effects on performance. Ileal gut morphology, microbiota composition of jejunal digesta, and gene expression profiles of jejunal tissue; however, were affected by dietary rye inclusion level.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2016
Event16th International Conference on Production Diseases in Farm Animals - Wageningen University (Hof van Wageningen Conference Centre), Wageningen, Netherlands
Duration: 22 Jun 201623 Jun 2016
Conference number: 16


Conference16th International Conference on Production Diseases in Farm Animals
Abbreviated titleICPD 2016
Internet address


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