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Effect of dietary protein content on cecal microbial ecosystem and mortality of young rabbits

Research Areas
  • Livestock

The aim of this work was to study the effect of dietary CP content on cecal microbial ecosystem and mortality of young rabbits weaned at 25 d. Two (HP and LP) isoenergetic (3,200 kcal DE/kg DM) diets differing in the CP content (175 and 159 g/kg DM, respectively), were formulated. Rabbits (240/treatment) weaned at 25 d were fed experimental diets during 10 d, and mortality incidence from 25 to 35 d was recorded. At 35 d-old, 30 5 rabbits per treatment were slaughtered and cecal contents were taken to characterize the microbial population by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP). The biodiversity degree (BD) defined as the number of fragments obtained by RFLP, and frequency of detection (FD) defined as the percentage of animals that had a fragment compatible with the presence of a certain bacteria, were recorded. Data were analyzed as a completely randomized design using type of diet as main effect. Mean comparisons of mortality and FD were made using a chi-squared test. A decrease of dietary CP content tended to reduce the mortality rate from 15 to 10% (P = 0.09). Animals fed LP diets showed a lower BD than those fed HP diets (1,905 vs. 2,561, P = 0.04). A reduction of dietary CP content led to a lower FD of several potential pathogens as Helicobacter spp. (from 80.0 to 57.1%, P = 0.04) and Leptospira spp. (from 77.1 to 57.1%, P = 0.07), and the FD of other intestinal bacteria as Escherichia spp. (from 45.7 to 20.0%, P = 0.02), and Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens (from 57.1 to 22.9%, P = 0.003). In conclusion, a reduction in dietary CP from 175 to 159 g/kg DM reduced the mortality rate, the biodiversity degree, the presence of several potential harmful bacteria at cecum, and should be contemplated as a strategy to increase the intestinal health in young rabbits.
99th Poultry Science Association Annual Meeting
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Poultry Science, 89 (1): 92

Research Group, Departaments and Institutes related
  • Creador: Grupo de Investigación: Producción Animal