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Dose–response effects of an antimicrobial peptide, a cecropin hybrid, on growth performance, nutrient utilisation, bacterial counts in the digesta and intestinal morphology in broilers

  • Liu-Fa Wen (a1) (a2) and Jian-Guo He (a1)

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to evaluate the feasibility of an antimicrobial peptide, cecropin A(1-11)-D(12-37)-Asn (CADN), as an alternative to antibiotic growth promoter (AGP) in poultry diets. A total of 1500 14-d-old indigenous male chickens (222 (sd 13) g) were randomly allocated to five groups with five replicate cages of sixty birds each, and fed ad libitum five grower diets and subsequently five finisher diets for 14 d each. The diets were made up by supplementing their basal diets with a CADN liquid sample (CADNL) at 0, 2, 4, 6 and 8 ml/kg, respectively. During the feeding period, a metabolic experiment was carried out to determine the apparent digestibility of diethyl ether extract, nitrogen retention and apparent metabolisable energy of the diet sample fed to each cage of chicks. At the end of the feeding experiment, one chick from each cage was killed for bacteriological, light microscopic and scanning electron microscopic examination of the intestinal villi. CADN had a negative linear, positive quadratic and negative linear effect on feed intake (F), weight gain (G) and feed:gain ratio (F:G), respectively, for the growers; it had a quadratic effect on F, G or F:G for the finishers; it increased nutrient utilisation for both growers and finishers; it decreased aerobic bacterial counts in both jejunal and caecal digesta in a dose-dependent manner; it enhanced intestinal villus heights in a dose-dependent manner and made the duodenum villi of the CADNL8 group at 42 d appear as a netted leaf-like structure. CADN is therefore a possible alternative to AGP in broiler feeds.

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*Corresponding author: , fax +86 20 85280740, email wenliufa@scau.edu.cn

References

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