Histological alterations of intestinal villi in chickens fed dried Bacillus subtilis var. natto

Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2002 Sep;133(1):95-104. doi: 10.1016/s1095-6433(02)00121-6.


Two experiments were conducted. In experiment 1, chickens were fed dried Bacillus subtilis var. natto for 3 or 28 days. Growth performance and internal organs were not different from controls, but feed efficiency tended to be improved in the 28-day feeding. In these birds, blood ammonia concentration was decreased (P<0.05). Blood glucose concentration, and amylase and lipase activity in the intestinal content were not significantly different among dietary groups. These results suggest that the B. subtilis natto depressed ammonia concentration. In experiment 2, chickens were fed dietary B. subtilis natto for 28 days. These birds had a tendency to display greater growth performance and intestinal histologies, such as villus height, cell area and cell mitosis, than the controls. Flat cell outline on the duodenal villus surface in controls developed large, protruded cell clusters and cell protuberances after feeding of dietary B. subtilis natto. These results indicate that intestinal function was activated by the depressed blood ammonia concentration in the body of the chicken. The present results may suggest that the B. subtilis natto has the potential to be a beneficial microorganism in chickens.

MeSH terms

  • Amylases / metabolism
  • Animal Feed*
  • Animals
  • Bacillus subtilis*
  • Chickens / anatomy & histology*
  • Chickens / growth & development
  • Intestine, Small / anatomy & histology*
  • Intestine, Small / enzymology
  • Intestine, Small / ultrastructure
  • Lipase / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Probiotics*


  • Lipase
  • Amylases