Acanthopanax senticosus (AS) is a well-known, highly effective traditional Chinese herbal medicine. Polysaccharides extracted from AS (ASPS) have multiple pharmacologic and biological activities with potential use as additives in broiler chicken feed. This trial evaluated the effects of dietary ASPS on growth performance, immune function, antioxidation, and ileal microbial populations in broiler chickens. A total of 240 1-day-old Arbor Acres male broiler chicks were randomly divided into 4 groups, with 10 replicates of 6 chicks and fed a corn- and soybean-based diet supplemented with 0, 1, 2, or 4 g/kg ASPS. Compared with the control group, supplementation with 1 g/kg ASPS increased ADG and ADFI in the finisher and overall periods and decreased the feed conversion ratio in the finisher period (both P < 0.05). Serum IgA and IgM were significantly increased by supplementation with 1 and 2 g/kg of ASPS (P < 0.05). Superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase activities were increased and malondialdehyde concentration was decreased in birds fed ASPS-supplemented diets compared with those in the control group (P < 0.05). Polysaccharides extracted from AS supplementation increased Lactobacillus and decreased Escherichia coli and Salmonella counts in the ileal contents compared with the control diet (both P < 0.05). The results show that dietary ASPS improved growth performance, immune status, and antioxidant capacity and stimulated the growth of beneficial gut bacteria in broiler chickens. In conclusion, ASPS was effective as a natural additive in broiler chicken feed; 1 g/kg can be considered as the optimum dosage.
Keywords: Acanthopanax senticosus polysaccharide; antioxidation; broiler chicken; immune function; microflora.
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