Methionine, choline and Lysine are universally recognized as the most two limiting amino acids in broiler diets based on corn and soybean meal (Baker, 1997; Han and Baker, 1991). The supplementation of broiler feeds with these amino acids is very common in the poultry industry. However, Synthetic methionine and choline are metabolized into highly toxic compounds such as methylpropionate, trimethylamine thereby, adversely altering the performance of poultry birds (Bender, 1975). Synthetic methionine and choline are listed among the prohibited synthetic substances and its usage has been questioned in organic farming practices (Fanatico et al., 2007). Feed rations that are high in plant proteins, such as soyabean meal can be used instead of synthetic amino acid supplements, but may lead to environmental pollution. It is difficult to design diet with sufficient Methionine and choline but without oversupplying protein or adding synthetic amino acids in crystalline form.
Alternatively, many herbs are rich source of these essential amino acids and also mimic the activity like that of methionine, choline or biotin. These may be supplemented along with ration to replace synthetic in feed.
The present experimental trial was conducted to evaluate efficacy of polyherbal coded formulation AV/CAP/18 (supplied by M/S Ayurvet Limited, Baddi, India) in comparison to synthetic additives in improving overall growth, productivity and performance in broilers.
Materials and Methods
An experimental trial was conducted in seventy five day old Vencob broiler chicks of nearly similar live body weight at Department of Animal Nutrition, College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Udgir, Dist. Latur, Maharashtra, India. The methodology of research trial and protocol was legally approved by the Committee for the purpose of control and supervision on experiments in animals (CPCSEA) No. 164/2005 (India) and Institutional Ethics Committee, C.V.A.S, Udgir, Maharashtra, India. Chicks were randomly divided into three groups (n=25), one negative control (T0) and two treatments (T1 and T2).
Table-1.1. Feed Formulations of Experimental Groups
Table-1.2. Chemical Composition of Rations of Experimental Groups
Control group (T0) was offered basal diet deficient in natural or synthetic source of amino acids (choline, methionine, lysine and biotin). Treatment group T1 was fed with basal diet supplemented with herbal formulation containing combination of herbs (Cicer arientinum, Phaseolus mungo, Mucuna pruriens, Trigonella foenumgraecum, Nigella sativa, Citrullus colocynthis and many more) that mimic the activity of amino acids (choline, methionine, lysine and biotin) @ 2Kg/tonne of feed while treatment group T2 was fed with basal diet supplemented with combination of synthetic choline chloride (600gm/tonne), synthetic methionine (1kg/tonne), synthetic lysine (1kg/tonne) and biotin (150mg/tonne).
The chicks of all the three groups were housed separately and maintained on ad libitum broiler starter and finisher ration and clean drinking water throughout the experiment. The chicks were vaccinated for Lasota and IBD vaccines on 7th and 14th day of age, respectively. Individual body weight and feed consumption of broilers from all three groups were measured at weekly intervals from 0-42 days. Mortality of each pen was recorded on a daily basis. A metabolic trial for nutrient retention studies was conducted on represen-tative four birds per group during last week of experiment. Daily feed consumption as well as faecal output from each bird was measured. The daily faecal output was collected and preserved for proximate analysis studies. The feed and fecal samples were subjected for analysis of dry matter (DM), crude protein (CP), crude fibre (CF), ether extract (EE), total ash (TA) and nitrogen free extract (NFE). The nutrient digestibility was calculated after analysis of nutrient content in feed consumed and feces voided by the selected birds. Weende's system of proximate analysis was adopted for estimation of chemical composition of feed and feces in the nutrient analysis. Statistical analysis was carried out by the method given by Snedecor and Cochran, 1980.
Results and Discussion
Growth and Performance: The feed formula and chemical composition of broiler starter and broiler finisher ration for control group and treatment groups is depicted in Table no.1.1 and 1.2. The % calculated essential amino acid in control group diet is either lower or completely absent in positive control group dietary formula. Mean body weight gain was recorded to be significantly higher in treatment groups (T1 and T2) than control from 1st to 6th week of experiment, however, the values were non-significantly different among two treatments from 1st to IIIrd week (Table 2). At VIth week, the mean body weight gain of T1 group was significantly higher than T2 suggesting that the supplementation of herbal product lead to compara-tively higher body weight gain than the group fed combination of synthetic amino acids in basal ration. The mean final body weight at the end of 6th week in treatment groups T2 (1804.1410.70 gm) and T1 (1788.47 10.70 gm) was significantly higher than the positive control group T0 (859.36 9.31 gm) (Table 3).
Table-2. Mean (+ SE) values of Gain in weight at weekly intervals of study
Table-3. Mean (+ SE) values of Live body weight at weekly intervals of study
Table-4. Mean (+ SE) values of Digestibility Coefficient (%) of Various Nutrients of experimental Birds at weekly intervals of study
The depression in body weight gain and mean final body weight in positive control group T0 may be correlated with the basal diet deficient in essential amino acids methionine, choline, lysine and biotin. In poultry ration, along with the vitamins and minerals, proteins play a critical role, amongst these methionine and lysine are essentially required for overall growth and performance (Swick et al., 1990). Herbs namely Cicer arientinum, Phaseolus mungo, Mucuna pruriens are rich source of proteins and essential amino acids (Baker, 1997). The significant increase in mean final body weight and body weight gain in treatments may be attributed to the supplementation of essential amino acids in basal ration. Addition of methionine over and above the recommended requirement of broilers improves their performance in terms of body weight gain and food conversion efficiency (Ohta and Ishibashi, 1995).
The results in the present study are in corroboration with those reported by Kalbande et al., (2009) that addition of herbal source of methionine along with feed improved performance in terms of body weight gain and feed efficiency in broilers. Similar results were also given by Simone et al., (1995) and Ohta and Ishibashi, (1995) that supplementing herbal or synthetic sources of essential amino acids improved feed to gain ratio in broilers.
The feed conversion ratio for T0 (1.88) was significantly higher than T1 (1.544) and T2 (1.536) that might be due to improved feed efficiency due to supplementation of either herbal sources or synthetic amino acids in feed. The results are well in confirmation with those reported by Ozturkan et al., (1993) that supplementation of choline, methionine and lysine to broilers improved performance in terms of feed efficiency and livability.
Nutrient Retention Studies: The mean values of digestibility coefficients of various nutrients of different groups are summarized in Table-4. The digestibility coefficient of DM and CP revealed non-significant difference among T1 and T2; however, it was significantly higher in treatments than control group T0. Similar results have been recorded for EE and NFE (table-4). The improvement in the digestibility coefficients in treatments groups supplemented either with herbal source of amino acids or synthetic amino acid supplemented group in comparision to the control group fed deficient diet suggests the positive role of essential amino acids in improving nutrient retention. The results are in confirmation with those reported by Babutunde et al., (1976).
Results of the present investigation demonstrate significant improvement in growth and performance parameters and feed utilization in treatment groups, it can be inferred that supplementing either synthetic or herbal sources of amino acids in broiler ration improves overall growth, performance, feed efficiency and nutrient retention and utilization in broilers and the herbal formula can successfully replace synthetic additives in feed.
The authors are thankful to Dean, College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Udgir, Maharashtra, for infrastructure facilities and Ayurvet Limited, for providing samples to conduct the research.
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This article was originally published at Veterinary World Journal, 2011; 4 (9): 413-416.