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Effects of Corn Replacement by Sorghum in Broiler Diets on Performance and Intestinal Mucosa Integrity

22 July 2013, at 12:00am

New research from Brazil reveals that half of the maize in a broiler diet can be replaced by low-tannin sorghum without negative effects on performance. Total replacement of the maize by the sorghum had deleterious effects on both growth and gut health.

The effects of replacing corn with low-tannin sorghum on broiler performance, carcass yield, integrity of mucosa of small intestine segments and activity of membrane enzymes of the jejunum has been investigated by K.A.A. Torres and colleagues at São Paulo State University in Brazil.

In a paper published in Poultry Science, they explain that a total of 594 male Cobb-500 broiler chicks were randomly assigned to three dietary treatments: 100 per cent corn (control), 50 per cent corn replacement with low-tannin sorghum (low sorghum) and 100 per cent corn replacement with low-tannin sorghum (high sorghum).

Body weight gain, feed consumption, feed conversion and carcass yield were determined on days 7, 21 and 42 and segments of the small intestine were collected.

Feed conversion and weight gain were impaired on day 42 in broilers fed the high-sorghum diet but no differences were observed for carcass yield among the treatments (P>0.05).

Crypt cell mitotic index of the jejunum and ileum on days 21 and 42 was lower in broilers fed the control diet than in those fed low- and high-sorghum diets (P<0.05).

Aminopeptidase activity was higher in broilers fed the control diet than in those fed low- and high-sorghum diets, irrespective of age (P<0.05). Conversely, intestinal alkaline phosphatase activity in the small intestine did not differ among the dietary treatments (P>0.05).

Torres and colleagues say their results indicate that 50 per cent corn replacement with low-tannin sorghum is suitable for broiler diets, whereas 100 per cent corn replacement with low-tannin sorghum had negative effects on the intestinal mucosa and performance of broilers at 42 days.


Torres K.A.A., J.M. Pizauro Jr., C.P. Soares, T.G.A. Silva, W.C.L. Nogueira, D.M.B. Campos, R.L. Furlan and M. Macari. 2013. Effects of corn replacement by sorghum in broiler diets on performance and intestinal mucosa integrity. Poult. Sci. 92(6):1564-1571.doi: 10.3382/ps.2012-02422

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July 2013

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