Fructans, which include inulin and fructooligosaccharides, are non digestible carbohydrates that are fermented in the large intestine. This review focuses on the effect of these prebiotics on gut microflora, fermentation characteristics, gut morphology, enzymes activity, nutrients digestibility and absorption, lipids metabolism and performance parameters in broiler chickens. Inulin-type fructans can improve performance of birds and health by affecting microbial community in the gastrointestinal tract, gut morphology and nutrient digestion. It is documented that dietary fructans influence the intestinal gut microflora of broiler chickens by increasing the population of Bifidobacterium spp., Lactobacillus spp. and Eubacterium spp. while decreasing the concentration of Clostridium spp. and Escherichia coli in the large intestine and caeca. The supplementation of poultry diets with inulin or oligofructose can lead to an increase of the length of small and large intestines in broilers, elongation of the villus in the chickens jejunal mucosa and increase in the ratio of villus height to crypt depth. The beneficial effect of inulin-type fructans on performance parameters in broilers may be partially explained by the elevated intestinal enzymatic activity under the influence of the fructooligosaccharides and increase of digestibility and absorption of nutrients, mainly protein and fat. The prebiotic effectiveness of inulin-type fructans in broilers depends on a number of factors, like the type of supplement (inulin vs. oligofructose), inclusion level, composition of the basal diet, animal characteristics (age, sex, stage of production) and hygienic conditions (i.e. stress factors).
Bogusławska-Tryk, M., Piotrowska, A., & Burlikowska, K. (2012). Dietary fructans and their potential beneficial influence on health and performance parametrs in broiler chickens. Journal of Central European Agriculture, 13(2), 272–291. https://doi.org/10.5513/JCEA01/13.2.1045