Effects of different sulphur amino acids and dietary electrolyte balance levels on performance, jejunal morphology, and immunocompetence of broiler chicks

V Nikoofard, A H Mahdavi, A H Samie, E Jahanian
Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 2016, 100 (1): 189-99
As alterations of dietary electrolyte balance (DEB) can influence amino acid metabolism via changes the ions incur in their configurations, performance and immunological responses of broiler chicks might be affected. So, the current study was carried out to investigate the effects of different levels of sulphur amino acids (SAA) and DEB on performance, jejunal morphology and immunocompetence of broiler chicks. A total of 360 1-day-old male Ross 308 broiler chicks were randomly assigned to nine experimental treatments with four replicates of 10 birds each. Experimental treatments consisted of three levels of SAA (100, 110, and 120% of NRC recommendation, provided by methionine supplementation in diets with the same cysteine level) and three levels of DEB (150, 250, and 350 mEq/kg) that were fed during the entire of trial in a 3 × 3 factorial arrangement. Results showed that the relative weights of intestine and abdominal fat were decreased markedly (p < 0.001) with increasing levels of SAA and DEB respectively. Antibody titre against sheep red blood cell was neither individually nor in combination influenced by supplementation of SAA or DEB. Nevertheless, a decrease in DEB level led to a suppression in heterophile (p < 0.05) and an increase in lymphocyte counts (p = 0.06); consequently, heterophile to lymphocyte ratio was significantly decreased (p < 0.05) by decremental levels of DEB. Albumin to globulin ratio was increased after inclusion of at least 10% SAA (p < 0.001) and 150 mEq DEB/kg in the diet (p = 0.11). Although feeding high-DEB level led to a remarkable decrease in villus height (p < 0.01) and goblet cell numbers (p < 0.001), supplementing the highest level of SAA improved the height of jejunal villus. During the entire trial period, average daily feed intake (ADFI) was increased by incremental SAA levels (p < 0.05). However, inclusion of 150 mEq/kg led to not only a remarkable increase (p < 0.0001) in both ADFI and average daily weight gain (ADWG) but also to improved (p < 0.001) feed conversion ratio (FCR) both during the growing and over the entire trial periods. The present findings indicated that inclusion of low DEB decreased the heterophile to lymphocyte ratio and improved both the albumin to globulin ratio and intestinal health indices. The best growth performance was obtained with 150 mEq DEB/kg in the diet for each level of SAA.

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