Effect of Feeding Transcarpathian Zeolite on Gastrointestinal Morphology and Function in Broiler Chickens
ABSTRACT Many kinds of feed additives can be used in chicken diets to stimulate intestinal morphological maturation and, consequently, intestinal function. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of zeolite on broiler performance, gut morphology and gut digestive enzyme activity. The one-day old broiler chickens Ross 308 were assigned randomly into 3 groups with 30 birds per treatment. The 3 dietary treatments were: basal diet only (control group), basal diet + 2% zeolite, basal diet + 3% zeolite. Morphological and morphometric intestinal assessments were conducted using a light microscope. There was observed increase in villus height, villus perimeter, villus section area and crypt depth throughout duodenum and mid jejunum of the broilers fed zeolite. Supplementation especially with 2% zeolite was associated with greater villus heights, villus perimeter, villus section area and crypt depth in duodenum and ileum mucosa compared to the controls. The diet with 2% zeolite also contributed to significant increase proventriculus (pepsin) and pancreas (trypsin, lipase) activity compared to the controls The results suggest that dietary supplementation of zeolite increased feed consumption, intestinal morphology parameters and enzyme activity of gastrointestinal tract in broiler which improved growth performance.