The fate of insoluble arabinoxylan and lignin in broilers: Influence of cereal type and dietary enzymes

Dimitrios Kouzounis, Gijs van Erven, Natalia Soares, Mirjam A. Kabel, Henk A. Schols*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Insoluble fiber degradation by supplemented enzymes was previously shown to improve fermentation in poultry, and has been further postulated to disrupt the cereal cell wall matrix, thus improving nutrient digestion. Here, we characterized insoluble feed-derived polysaccharides and lignin in digesta from broilers fed wheat-soybean and maize-soybean diets without or with xylanase/glucanase supplementation. Enzyme supplementation in wheat-soybean diet increased the yield of water-extractable arabinoxylan (AX) in the ileum. Still, most AX (> 73 %) remained insoluble across wheat-soybean and maize-soybean diets. Analysis of so-far largely ignored lignin demonstrated that a lignin-rich fiber fraction accumulated in the gizzard, while both insoluble AX and lignin reaching the ileum appeared to be excreted unfermented. More than 20 % of water-insoluble AX was extracted by 1 M NaOH and 11–20 % was sequentially extracted by 4 M NaOH, alongside other hemicelluloses, from ileal digesta and excreta across all diets. These findings showed that enzyme-supplementation did not impact AX extractability by alkali, under the current experimental conditions. It is, therefore, suggested that the degradation of insoluble AX by dietary xylanase in vivo mainly results in arabinoxylo-oligosaccharide release, which is not accompanied by a more loose cell wall architecture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1096-1106
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Macromolecules
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2023


  • Alkali extraction
  • Feed enzymes
  • Insoluble fiber
  • Lignin-carbohydrate complex
  • Poultry nutrition


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