Agriculture Project Topics

Probiotic Effects of Saccharomyces Cerevisia on Laying Chicken Fed Palm Kernel Cake-based Diets

Probiotic Effects of Saccharomyces Cerevisia on Laying Chicken Fed Palm Kernel Cake-based Diets

Probiotic Effects of Saccharomyces Cerevisia on Laying Chicken Fed Palm Kernel Cake-based Diets

Chapter One

Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this study were:

  • To determine the effect of probiotic (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) on growth rate of pullets and hen-day egg performance of laying chicken.
  • To determine the appropriate level of inclusion of this probiotic for optimum pullet development and maximum egg production.
  • To assess the possible modes of action of the probiotic
  • To evaluate the cost benefit of this probiotic supplementation in table egg production




Historical Perspectives

The word probiotic is derived from the Greek meaning ‘for life’ or ‘in support of life’ and has had several different meanings over the years. It was first used by Lilley and Stillwell (1965) to describe substances secreted by one microorganism which stimulated the growth of another. It thus meant the exact opposite of antibiotic and its etymological pedigree was beyond reproach (Fuller,1992). However, its use in this form did not persist and it was subsequently used by Sperti (1971) to describe tissue extracts which stimulated microbial growth. It was not until 1974 that Parker used it in the context in which we shall use it in this thesis. Parker defined probiotics as ‘organisms and substances which contribute to intestinal microbial balance (Parker, 1974). This definition related probiotic use to the intestinal microflora but the inclusion of substance gave it a wide connotation which would include antibiotics. In an attempt to improve the definition, Fuller (1989) redefined probiotics as ‘a live microbial feed supplement which benefits the host animal by improving its intestinal microbial balance’. This revised definition stressed the need for a probiotic to be viable.

Below is a chronicle of the evolution of definitions of probiotics:

  • Substances secreted by one microorganism that stimulate another microorganism (Lilly and Stillwell, 1965).
  • Tissue extracts that stimulate microbial growth (Sperti, 1971).
  • Organisms and substances that have a beneficial effect on the host animal by contributing to its intestinal microbial balance (Parker, 1974).
  • A live microbial feed supplement that beneficially affects the host animal by improving its intestinal microbial balance (Fuller, 1989).
  • A viable mono- or mixed culture of microorganisms that, applied to animals or humans, beneficially affects the host by improving the properties of the indigenous microflora (Havenaar, 1992).
  • A live microbial culture of cultured dairy product that beneficially influences the health and nutrition of the host (Salminen, 1996).
  • Viable bacteria, in a single or mixed culture, that have a beneficial effect on the health of the host (Donohue and Salminen, 1996).
  • Living microorganisms that on ingestion in certain numbers exert health benefits beyond inherent basic nutrition (Guarner and Schaafsma, 1998).





Probiotic: The probiotic used for the study was yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), produced by B. F. P. Dock Road, Felixstowe, United Kingdom. The quality of the bioactive yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) was determined by culturing in sabouraud dextrose agar (SDA) for 48 hours to know the level of growth (bioactivity) and to ensure that there are no contaminants (i.e. no growth of any other organism which may be pathogenic). The numbers of colony forming units were determined.

Palm Kernel Cake (PKC):

Palm kernel cake is a readily available, relatively low cost agro-industrial by-product that is commonly used as a non-conventional feed ingredient. It is the product left after oil has been extracted from palm kernel. The quality of PKC depends on whether the oil is mechanically or chemically extracted. The PKC used for this study was one from which the oil was mechanically extracted.  The proximate composition of the PKC on dry basis was crude protein (14.8%), crude fibre (20.4%), ether extract (9.6%), nitrogen free extract (43.8%), ash (3.4%) and metabolizable energy (2.44 Mcal/kg).



Quality of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae used for the study.

On culturing of the bioactive yeast on Sabourard Dextrose Agar (SDA), 47 colonies were obtained. The volume plated was 0.1 ml. and the total dilution used was 10-7 , giving us 4.7 x 10-9 colony forming units per ml. (CFU/ml.).

Effects of varied levels of probiotic inclusion on pullet development

The results of the weekly body weight measurements are presented in Table 7. There were no significant (p>0.05) differences between the mean body weights of the different groups at week 5 of age, but from week 6 to 8 of age the group B birds fed diets supplemented with 0.8 g/kg probiotic had a significantly higher body weights  (p<0.05) than the control (unsupplemented group) pullets. At week 9 of age however, there were no significant differences (p>0.05) in the body weights of all groups. At week 10, the body weights of the pullets in groups B and C supplemented with 0.8 g/kg and 1.0 g/kg of probiotic were significantly higher (p<0.05) than that of the control (unsupplemented) group (Table 7). From week 11 to 17 of age there were no significant (p>0.05) differences in the body weights of the groups (Table 7).



The effects of probiotic supplementation in poultry ration on pullets development and hen-day egg performance of the layers was conducted in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Farm, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.  The mean body weights showed that probiotic supplented groups gained more weight than the control. The possible mechanisms through which probiotic supplementation led to greater weight gain may be:

  1. Protection of the host from intestinal infections (Nurmi and Rantala, 1973; Pascual et al, 1999; Koop-hoolihan, 2000; Oyetayo et al, 2003).
  2. Elaboration of digestive enzymes that help in nutrient digestion thereby promoting growth in those groups (Baird, 1977; Mordenti, 1986; Matsui et al, 1990; Chang et al, 2001; Numan, 2001; Ezema, 2007).
  3. Probiotic assistance in nutrient synthesis and bioavailability (Koop- hoolihan, 2001).

These mechanisms were confirmed in another study that reported an increase in lactase, a-glucosidase and alkaline phosphatase activities after the yeast treatment (Jahn et al., 1996). The study further showed that probiotics enhanced the release of brush-border membrane enzymes implicated in the nutrient degradation and absorption.

The results of enhanced weight gain recorded in this study are in agreement with earlier report by Glade and Sist (1988) who observed that probiotic increased weight gain in animals. According to Mordenti (1986) and Chang et al. (2001) probiotics promote growth in farm animals by breaking down the hydrocarbons contained in the diet, which means the food is being split into its most basic elements.  This allows almost total absorption through the digestive system.  In this way, probiotics dramatically increased overall nutrition and enhance rapid cellular growth and development.


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