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The effect of supplemental glutamine on growth performance, development of the gastrointestinal tract, and humoral immune response of broilers.

Author(s): Bartell SM, Batal AB

Affiliation(s): Department of Poultry Science, University of Georgia, Athens GA 30602, USA.

Publication date & source: 2007-09, Poult Sci., 86(9):1940-7.

Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial

Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effect of supplemental Gln on growth performance, development of the gastrointestinal tract, and humoral immune response of broilers. Immediately after hatch 6 replicate pens of 6 chicks were randomly assigned to 1 of 7 (experiment 1) or 5 (experiment 2) dietary treatments for 21 d. On d 4, 7, 14, and 21, twelve chicks per treatment (2 chicks/pen) were killed for thymus, spleen, bursa, duodenum, jejunum, ileum, bile, and blood sample collections and weights. In experiment 1, the effect of 1 or 4% Gln addition to the feed, water, or both was compared with a corn-soybean meal (SBM) control diet. All diets were formulated to be isocaloric and isonitrogenous. Weight gain improved significantly (P < 0.05) when chicks were fed diets with 1% Gln as compared with chicks fed the control diet (11% average improvement). The addition of 4% Gln to the diet or water depressed (P < 0.05) growth performance. Based on the results from experiment 1, 1% Gln supplementation to the diet was determined to be ample and most practical. Thus in experiment 2, diets supplemented with 1% Gln were fed for 4, 7, 14, or 21 d after which time chicks were fed the corn-SBM control diet until the experiment was terminated at 21 d. Weight gain improved significantly (P < 0.05) when chicks were fed diets supplemented with 1% Gln throughout the 21-d study. In both experiments, chicks fed diets supplemented with 1% Gln for 21 d had higher concentrations of bile, intestinal, and sera IgA and sera IgG (P < 0.05). Chicks fed diets with 1% Gln had heavier intestinal relative weights and longer intestinal villi (P < 0.05) as compared with the chicks fed the corn-SBM diet. Our results indicate that the addition of 1% Gln to the diet of broiler chicks improves growth performance and may stimulate development of the gastrointestinal tract and humoral immune response.

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