Impact of NSP on poultry Nutrition - Glamac

Impact of NSP on poultry Nutrition

Poultry production has expanded significantly in recent decades, driven by advances in genetics, nutrition, and management practices that have markedly improved productivity. Modern diets are highly concentrated to ensure efficient digestion and nutrient utilization. However, managing efficiency and production sustainability poses challenges, particularly regarding the role of dietary fiber. Depending on its solubility, fiber is seen either as a nutrient diluent or an anti-nutrient.

Cereals and legumes, staples of commercial poultry diets, contain substantial fiber. Additionally, poultry housed on floors or in modified cages may ingest litter materials like wood shavings, tree bark, straw, or rice hulls, which are rich in cellulose. These materials, characterized by high-lignified cellulose and mechanical strength but limited extensibility, have unknown effects on digestibility, gut functions, and bird behavior.

Classification of NSP

Impact of non-starch polysaccharides on broiler performance

  • Broiler diets focus on the anti-nutritional effects of fiber, aiming for about 3% crude fiber.
  • Current limitations are based on crude fiber rather than more relevant measures of fiber’s physiological impact.
  • Higher fiber levels may improve nutrient digestibility in broilers, enhancing overall health.
  • Modern broilers benefit from moderated nutrient density with fiber to prevent excess fat deposition.
  • Insufficient dietary fiber can lead to underdeveloped gizzards and excessive food intake in broilers.
  • Fiber promotes gizzard development, improving digestion efficiency and feed utilization.
  • Rice and barley hulls enhance growth performance, crude protein digestibility, and nutrient absorption.
  • Broilers may consume extra fiber to potentially enhance their immune response.
  • Broilers can tolerate varying levels of dietary fiber (2% to 12%), influenced by NSP types.
  • Insoluble fiber impacts passage rate, gizzard development, and moisture absorption.
  • Soluble NSP affects intestinal function, fermentation rates, and excreta moisture levels.

Impact of non-starch polysaccharides on layer performance

  • Layers tolerate higher fiber levels due to age and developed intestinal microbiota.
  • Fiber traditionally avoided in layer diets; hybrid rye and barley can be used up to 25% and 45%, respectively, without harming egg production.
  • Performance varies; cheaper high-fiber ingredients like alfalfa meal, DDGS (up to 15%), camelina, flaxseed meal (up to 10%) are viable.
  • Enzymes target anti-nutrients; responses to fiber-rich enzymes are inconsistent, requiring more research.

Action of enzymes on feed & feed ingredients

Enzyme Substrate Feed Stuff Benefits
Cellulase Cellulose, Hemicellulose, Lignocellulose Soya, Maize, DORB Improves fiber digestion, High fiber diet formulation
Pectinase, Arabinase, Xylanase Pectin, Arabinoxylan Wheat, Rye, DORB Liberate proteins for easier digestion
Phytase Mineral phytate, Amino Acid phytate, Ca-phytate Maize, Soya, DORB Release Ca and other micronutrient and increase available P
Lipase Fat and Triglycerides Oil and Tallow Improves ME value
Glucanase Alpha & beta glucans Wheat and barley Decreases viscosity
Protease Animal & Plant Protein SFC, Soya, GNC, Maize, Fish Meal Improves CP %
  • Improves welfare by reducing feather pecking; role in preventing cannibalism not fully understood.
  • Oats, alfalfa meal, wood shavings reduce egg cholesterol, benefiting human health.
  • Mechanisms Explained:
    • Bioactive Factors: Saponins in alfalfa, sunflower meals lower cholesterol.
    • Viscosity Effects: Soluble fibers impair fat digestibility, reduce cholesterol synthesis.
    • Bile Acid Binding: Polysaccharides in wood shavings, oat bran, cottonseed hulls bind bile acids, lowering egg cholesterol.

Impact of non-starch polysaccharides on broiler breeder performance

Genetic selection for fast growth in broiler breeders requires severe feed restrictions to control ovarian function and improve performance. This leads to welfare concerns such as hunger, excessive water intake, increased activity, and stereotypic pecking.

Benefits of Increasing Dietary Fiber:
Enhances dietary bulk and satiety, reducing hunger and stress without compromising reproductive performance.

Non-Inert Nature of Fiber:
Interacts with nutrients and gut microbiota, leading to variable outcomes in studies, necessitating precise fiber definitions.

Effectiveness of Soluble vs. Insoluble Fiber:
Low soluble fiber levels benefit broiler breeders; higher insoluble fiber levels preferred for bulk and satiety.

Insoluble fiber improves satiety without affecting water consumption or litter quality.

Specific Benefits of Ground Oat Hulls:
Feeding up to 15% enhances productivity, nutrient utilization, and welfare in broiler breeders.

No significant differences in egg production, quality, or hen weight observed with 40% ground oat hulls plus Ca propionate.

Impact of Fiber Sources on Hormones and Health:
Insoluble fiber (wheat bran, cellulose) reduces egg plasma corticosterone, indicating reduced hunger.

Soluble fiber (cottonseed meal) increases plasma cholesterol and abdominal fat.

Caecal pH and Fermentation:
Higher soluble fiber levels lead to lower caecal pH due to easier fermentation, necessitating careful fiber source selection.

Fiber Inclusion Strategy:
Promising for mitigating negative effects of feed restriction on breeder well-being.

Limited research on different fiber types’ effects on nutrient digestibility, metabolism, and reproductive outcomes.

Impact of non-starch polysaccharides on water consumption, excreta moisture content and litter quality

  • Impact of NSPs on Litter Quality:
    • High molecular weight, water-soluble NSPs increase excreta water content, reducing litter quality and increasing ammonia emissions due to their high water-holding capacity.
    • molecular weight soluble NSPs, being more fermentable and less viscous, have minimal impact on litter moisture.
  • Role of Insoluble NSPs:
    • Insoluble NSPs improve excreta consistency and litter quality by enhancing digesta passage rate, although their effectiveness varies with bird age.
  • Ammonia Emission Reduction:
    • Dietary fibre can reduce ammonia emissions by altering nitrogen excretion pathways and lowering manure pH through bacterial metabolism of short-chain fatty acids.
  • Managing NSP Levels:
    • NSP levels in poultry diets helps manage excreta volume and moisture, thereby improving litter quality.
    • Better litter quality can mitigate health issues such as ascites, respiratory diseases, and contact dermatitis in poultry flocks.


  • Non Starch Polysaccharides can be effectively used supplementing enzymes
  • Inclusion of NSP helps in gut development
  • Can significantly reduce feed cost