The role of the intestinal flora as affected by non-starch polysaccharides in broiler chicks

D.J. Langhout

Research output: Thesisexternal PhD, WU


<p>It is well established that the non-starch polysaccharides (NSP) of wheat, rye and barley have anti-nutritive properties in broiler chicks. The water-soluble fraction of these NSP are assumed to be primary responsible for the anti-nutritive activity, producing depression in digestibility of nutrients and performance.</p><p>This study was undertaken to investigate the role of the intestinal microflora on the anti-nutritive properties of water-soluble NSP by using citrus pectin as model substrate. Citrus pectin is a highly fermentable NSP fraction of a viscous nature. Inclusion of high-methylated citrus pectin (HMC) in diets of young chicks resulted in a decreased nutrient digestibility and performance. This was associated with an increase of the microbial activity in the small intestine. In addition, ileal composition of the microflora and the morphology of the small intestinal wall was changed. Furthermore, degradation of conjugated bile acids was increased significantly by including HMC in the diet.</p><p>The effect of low-methylated citrus pectin (LMC) on these parameters was less pronounced than with HMC. When the HMC diet was fed to germ-free chicks, digestibility of nutrients and performance were hardly affected. It was concluded that the intestinal microflora mediates the magnitude of the anti-nutritive properties of water-soluble NSP in broiler chicks.</p>
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Verstegen, Martin, Promotor
  • Tamminga, S., Promotor
  • Schutte, J.B., Promotor, External person
Award date23 Oct 1998
Place of PublicationS.l.
Print ISBNs9789054859123
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • broilers
  • fowls
  • feeds
  • viscosity
  • polysaccharides
  • antinutritional factors
  • intestinal microorganisms
  • intestines
  • ileum
  • small intestine
  • digestibility
  • pectins
  • rye
  • wheat

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