The effect of supplemental glutamine on growth performance, development of the gastrointesinal tract, and immune response of broiler chicks
Bartell, Shoshana Mal-Lee
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Recent controversies involving the use of growth promoting antibiotics in commercial feeds have led to studies evaluating alternatives to antibiotics and one possible alternative is the use of dietary supplemental glutamine. Four studies were conducted to evaluate the effect of supplemental glutamine on growth performance, development of the gastrointestinal tract, and immune response of broiler chicks. Supplementing a standard corn-soybean meal diet with 1% glutamine (old source) for 21 or 40 days (entire experimental period) improved broiler growth performance in all four studies and feed efficiency in the last three studies. Supplementing the diet with 1% glutamine significantly increased villi height, intestinal relative weights, thymus and spleen relative weights, IgA, IgG, IgM and IFN- concentrations, and anti-SRBC titers in broiler chicks. Supplementing the diet with 1% glutamine eliminated the weight depression that often accompanies vaccinations and may better protect the gut against an Eimeria challenge. Supplemental 1% glutamine in broiler diets enhanced the development of the gastrointestinal tract and immune response to a SRBC challenge, Eimeria vaccination, and Eimeria challenge. However, improved growth performance was dependent upon the source of glutamine used.