This study examined whether pre-treating palm kernel expeller (PKE) with exogenous enzyme would degrade its fiber content; thus improving its metabolizable energy (ME), growth performance, villus height and digesta viscosity in broiler chickens fed diets containing PKE. Our results showed that enzyme treatment decreased (p<0.05) hemicellulose and cellulose contents of PKE by 26.26 and 32.62%, respectively; and improved true ME (TME) and its nitrogen corrected value (TMEn) by 38% and 33%, respectively, compared to the raw sample. Average daily gain (ADG), feed intake and feed conversion ratio (FCR) of chickens fed on different dietary treatments in the grower period were not significantly different. Although there was no difference in feed intake (p>0.05) among treatment groups in the finisher period, ADG of chickens in the control (PKE-free diet) was higher (p<0.05) than in all treatment groups fed either 20 or 30% PKE, irrespective of with or without enzyme treatment. However, ADG of birds fed with 20% PKE was higher than those fed with 30% PKE. The FCR of chickens in the control was the lowest (2.20) but not significantly different from those fed 20% PKE diets while birds in the 30% PKE diets recorded higher (p>0.05) FCR. The intestinal villus height and crypt depth (duodenum, jejunum and ileum) were not different (p>0.05) among treatments except for duodenal crypt depth. The villus height and crypt depth of birds in enzyme treated PKE diets were higher (p<0.05) than those in the raw PKE groups. Viscosity of the intestinal digesta was not different (p>0.05) among treatments. Results of this study suggest that exogenous enzyme is effective in hydrolyzing the fiber (hemicellulose and cellulose) component and improved the ME values of PKE, however, the above positive effects were not reflected in the growth performance in broiler chickens fed the enzyme treated PKE compared to those received raw PKE. The results suggest that PKE can be included up to 5% in the grower diet and 20% in the finisher diet without any significant negative effect on FCR in broiler chickens.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.