BACKGROUND: The use of wheat and flaxseed to produce omega-3 (ω-3) enriched poultry meat and eggs is very popular in the world. However, wheat and flaxseed contain some anti-nutritional factors (ANFs), and enzymes are usually used to alleviate the deleterious influence of ANFs.
METHOD: A 2 × 3 two factors design was used in the experiment. A total of 540 twenty-week-old Nongda-3 laying hens were randomly allocated to six dietary treatments, two diets (corn/flaxseed and wheat/flaxseed), and three enzymes (enzyme-a contains neutral protease 10,000, xylanase 35,000, β-mannanase 1500, β-glucanase 2000, cellulose 500, amylase 100, and pectinase 10,000 (U g -1); enzyme-b contains alkaline protease 40,000 and neutral protease 10,000 (U g -1); enzyme-c contains alkaline protease 40,000, neutral protease 10,000, and cellulase 4000 (U g -1).
RESULTS: There was an interaction between dietary treatment and supplemental enzymes for liver weight and liver inflammatory cytokines of broilers. A significant increase was observed in the fat weight of birds fed a corn diet as compared with a wheat diet. A corn diet and wheat diet with the addition of enzyme-a ( p < 0.001) showed the highest level of liver fat followed by enzyme-c ( p < 0.01) and enzyme-b. Moreover, a high level of secretory IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-10 and comparatively higher inflammatory changes in the liver tissue were found in birds fed a corn diet as compared with a wheat diet, and enzyme-b showed more beneficial effects as compared with enzyme-a and -c. The gut microbial composition of hens fed a corn diet was significantly different than that of birds fed a wheat diet. Bacteroides were significantly ( p < 0.05) abundant in the corn-fed birds as compared with wheat-fed birds. However, Firmicutes were less abundant in the wheat-fed birds than the corn-fed birds (16.99 vs. 31.80%, respectively). The microbial community at the genus level differed significantly in the dietary groups and we observed that Bacteroides are the predominant cecal microbiota. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways of co-factors, carbohydrates, vitamins, protein, and energy were expressed at slightly higher levels in the microbiota of the wheat-fed birds, whereas, metabolic pathways for nucleotides, lipids, and glycine were expressed at higher levels in the wheat-fed birds. Furthermore, expression of the growth and cellular processes pathway and endocrine system pathway levels were predicted to be higher for the wheat-fed group as compared with the corn-fed group.
CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, our findings suggest that inflammatory changes in laying birds were mediated by a corn diet with flaxseed and enzymes instead of a wheat diet. Additionally, in the wheat-fed group, enzyme-b and -c showed more encouraging results as compared to enzyme-a.