Chicory (Cichorium intybus) belongs to plants of the Compositae family accumulating energy in the form of inulin fructan.
Chicory, a prebiotic, is a fermentable oligosaccharide and oligofructose that may affect the intestinal mucosal architecture and the electrophysiological parameters.
Therefore, this study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of adding chicory fructans in feed on the intestinal morphology and electrogenic transport of glucose in broilers.
Four hundred, day old broiler chicks were randomly divided into two groups for 5 weeks.
The dietary treatments were (i) control, (ii) basal diets supplemented with the dried, grinded ground chicory pulp containing inulin (1 kg of chicory/ton of the starter and grower diets).
Effect on villi
In duodenum, dietary chicory increased the villus height and villus width and villus height to crypt depth ratio, but the duodenal crypt depth remained unaffected.
However, in jejunum, the villus height, crypt depth and villus height to crypt depth ratio were decreased by dietary chicory compared with control birds.
In ileum, the villus height and villus crypt depth was decreased by dietary chicory supplementation compared with control, but, the villus height to crypt depth ratio was increased.
Moreover, dietary chicory relatively affected the electrophysiological parameters of the intestine but did not reach significance.
The amount of ΔIsc after d-glucose addition to the jejunal mucosa was numerically higher for chicory fed birds than control birds.
The percentage of increase in the Isc after d-glucose addition (ΔIsc %) was higher for chicory group upto (90%) of the control group.
In colon, the actual Isc value and Isc after d-glucose addition was numerically higher for chicory fed birds than control birds.
Moreover, the conductance of jejunal and colonic tissues after d-glucose addition remained unaffected by the dietary chicory.
In conclusion, addition of chicory to broilers diet increased the duodenal villus height, villus width and villus height to crypt depth ratio and decreased the villus height and crypt depth in both jejenum and ileum.
Furthermore, dietary chicory relatively modified the small intestinal electrogenic transport of glucose in broilers.