Indexed on: 14 Mar '08Published on: 14 Mar '08Published in: Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition
A 36-day experiment carried out on 54-day-old rabbits addressed the analysis of physiological properties of diets supplemented with chicory roots flour. Twenty-four rabbits were allocated in individual cages to three treatments, in which they were fed each diet with the chicory flour at 0, 25 and 50 g/kg (control, ChF(2.5) and ChF(5) groups respectively). The chicory preparation administered at a higher dose, lowered ileal pH and viscosity, and evoked increased hydration of ileal and caecal digesta, compared to the control treatment (p </= 0.05). The ChF(2.5) group was characterized by the highest increase in the bulk of digesta and concentration of protein in the caecum (p < 0.05 vs. control). The lowest colonic pH was found in the ChF(5) group (p </= 0.05 vs. control). Compared to the control group, both chicory treatments effectively (p </= 0.05) diminished the activity of the potentially harmful bacterial enzymes beta-glucosidase and beta-glucuronidase in the caecal and colonic digesta. The ChF(2.5) group was characterized by a significantly higher volatile fatty acids (VFA) pool size in the caecum, whereas rabbits fed the ChF(5)diet had the highest colonic VFA pool size (p </= 0.05 vs. control). The lowest level of triglycerides and total cholesterol, at concurrently the highest proportion of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) fraction in the HDL/total cholesterol profile, were recorded in the plasma of rabbits fed the ChF(5) diet. In conclusion, the chicory flour rich in inulin, exerted positive effects on the rabbit gastrointestinal tract physiology and would be a potential source of functional feed additives.