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Cuban Journal of Agricultural Science

Print version ISSN 0864-0408On-line version ISSN 2079-3480

Cuban J. Agric. Sci. vol.50 no.2 Mayabeque Apr.-June 2016


Cuban Journal of Agricultural Science, 50(2): 273-278, 2016, ISSN: 2079-3480




Effect of Vitafert on the digestive use of nitrogen in roosters that consume Moringa oleifera forage meal


Efecto del Vitafert en la utilización digestiva del nitrógeno en gallos que consumen harina de forraje de Moringa oleifera



Daymara Bustamante, Lourdes Savón, A. Elías, Y. Caro, F. Sierra, Mabel Almeida

Instituto de Ciencia Animal, Apartado Postal 24, San José de las Lajas, Mayabeque, Cuba.




A total of 16 colostomized roosters (hybrid H5) were used, housed in metabolic cages, to evaluate the effect of dry Vitafert on the digestive use of nitrogen (N) of moringa forage meal. The treatments were: I) control diet, II) 10 % of moringa forage meal, III) 2 % of dry Vitafert and IV) mixture of 10% of moringa forage meal with 2 % of dry Vitafert. A completely randomized design with four repetitions / treatment was used. The dry Vitafert was prepared from the mixture of liquid Vitafert with corn-meal (1:1). The chemical composition and nitrogen use was determined. The N intake (g/d) and fecal digestibility of N (%) in the animals, which consumed the mixture of moringa forage meal with dry Vitafert, was higher (P ˂ 0.001) compared to those who intake moringa forage meal. Fecal excretion of N (g/d) did not differ between treatments. It is concluded that the inclusion of dry Vitafert could stimulate the digestive use of N in roosters fed moringa forage meal.

Key words: Vitafert, moringa, roosters, fecal digestibility of nitrogen.


Se utilizaron 16 gallos colostomizados (híbrido H5), alojados en jaulas metabólicas, para evaluar el efecto del Vitafert seco en la utilización digestiva del nitrógeno (N) de la harina de forraje de moringa. Los tratamientos fueron: I) dieta control, II) 10 % de harina de forraje de moringa, III) 2 % de Vitafert seco y IV) mezcla de 10 % de la harina de forraje de moringa con  2 % de Vitafert seco. Se empleó diseño completamente aleatorizado con cuatro repeticiones/tratamiento. El Vitafert seco se elaboró a partir de la mezcla del Vitafert líquido con harina de maíz (1:1). Se determinó la composición química y la utilización del nitrógeno. El consumo de N (g/d) y la digestibilidad fecal del N (%) en los animales que consumieron la mezcla de la harina de forraje de moringa con el Vitafert seco fue mayor (P ˂ 0.001) en comparación con los que consumieron harina de forraje de moringa. La excreción fecal del N (g/d) no difirió entre tratamientos. Se concluye que la inclusión del Vitafert seco pudiera estimular el aprovechamiento digestivo del N en gallos alimentados con harina de forraje de moringa.

Palabras clave: Vitafert, moringa, gallos, digestibilidad fecal del nitrógeno.




The use of fibrous foods in poultry feeding is very common in tropical countries, although it extends to temperate climates. The main alterations that this practice cause in the  animal digestive physiology are related to the transit speed of the digesta, fermentation, water adsorption capacity and the endogenous excretion rate. For these reasons, the inclusion of fiber in pigs and poultry diets can reduce nitrogen digestibility and, therefore, increase their total excretion.

The manipulation of the diet is an option to reduce the environmental effect of animal dejections. The use of fermented products is a tool that has gained great development in livestock production in intensive breeding systems. The use of efficient microorganisms in obtaining food gives it probiotic properties (Savvidou 2009).Among these, Vitafert is a compound of efficiency microorganisms biologically active containing lactobacillus, yeast, organic acids, besides of having low pH (Gutiérrez 2012). This microbial additive has been used to prevent intestinal infections, increase growth rate, feed efficiency and retention of energy and nitrogen in monogastric species (Gutiérrez 2005).

In birds, in order to estimate the nitrogen digestibility is necessary to differentiate between fecal and urine, due to a mixture of feces and urine is excreted. Therefore, it has had to resort to surgical methods, such as colostomy and / or ureters externalization.

It is important to highlight that there is no previous studies related to fecal digestibility of moringa forage in birds. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of dry Vitafert on the digestive use of nitrogen in colostomized roosters that intake moringa forage meal.

A total of 16 colostomized adult roosters (hybrid H5) were used, of 52 days of age and initial average liveweight of 1.89 kg, housed in individual metabolic cages. Each bird was a repetition.

The surgical technique used to make the colostomy was that described by Okumura (1976), modified by Dihigo et al. (1994). To evaluate the effect of the addition of dry Vitafert on a diet that included a fiber source in its composition, four treatments were used: I) control based on maize and soybean, II) 10% of moringa forage meal, III) 2% of dry Vitafert and IV) mixture of 10% moringa forage meal with 2% of dry Vitafert. The experimental diets were formulated according to NRC (1994) requirements. The percentage composition and bromatological analysis of diets are showed in table 1.

The dry Vitafert was obtained according to the methodology described by Gutiérrez (2005). Its chemical composition (dry basis) was: 92.18% (n = 6) of DM, 1.74% (n = 6) of N and 5.38 of pH of the dry Vitafert.

The moringa variety used was the Supergenius, with cutting age of 60 d (second cut). The moringa whole forage meal was prepared according to Savon et al. (2004). Its chemical composition (dry basis) was: 89.62% (n = 6) of DM and 1.67% (n = 6) of N.

Six samples of each food were randomly taken and analyzed in duplicate.

The animals were adapted to the cages and to the intake of diets for seven days. The food supply was reduced to 50% and was offered twice daily in two equal portions (8:30 am and 1:30 pm). During the period, the animals received water ad libitum, which was offered in automatic drinkers.

The feces collection started in the third week after the operation. They were collected during three days individually in nylon bags, quantitatively. Every day 10% of each sample / animal was taken. At the end of period a pool for each animal was formed, which was kept frozen at -20 °C until their analysis. The feces were dried in an oven at 60 °C for 72 h. To calculate daily intake the rejection was controlled.

In the food and excreta the DM and N was determined, according to the methodology described by AOAC (2012) .With the obtained data the N intake (g / d) and fecal excretion of N (g/d) was determined. The fecal digestibility of N (%) was determined by direct method, according to Crampton and Harris (1969) methodology. The N digestibility was calculated according to the following equation:

Digestibility, % = (Ndiet-Nfeces/Ndiet)*100                     

A completely randomized design with four treatments and four replications was used. For data analysis INFOSTAT computerized statistical package (Balzarini et al. 2012), version of Windows XP was used. In necessary cases, the mean values were compared by means of the Duncan (1955) test.

The effect of dry Vitafert on the digestive use of N in colostomized roosters that consume moringa forage meal is show in table 2.

The tropical forage trees are characterized by their high protein content. However, it is proposed that, approximately, 31% of this N is joined to NDF, which is not available to the animal (Bindelle et al. 2008).The N intake (g / d) in the animals which  intake the mixture of moringa forage meal and dry Vitafert differ (P <0.0001) than those who intake moringa forage meal. The lower intake of dry matter and nitrogen in roosters who received moringa forage meal could be given by the quality of the fiber source, determined by its chemical composition. This last influences on the physicochemical properties that, in turn, determine the physiological effects on the digestive tract of animals. Almeida (2015) reported higher values in the N intake of colostomized roosters who intake moringa forage meal due to there was content of 50.37% of NDF and lignin values of 8.10%. The solubility was 26.64% and the volume and water retention capacity of 3.62 and 6.59 g / g respectively, whereas the meal used in this study showed values of NDF and lignin of 57.74%, 13.66% respectively, with solubility of 20.81%, volume of 12.43% and water retention capacity 12.43g/g.

The positive effect of dry Vitafert on the N intake in roosters that intake the fibrous material could be because the animals ingested amounts of beneficial microorganisms, which could stimulate the competition for nutrients and niches for colonization. The composition of the intestinal ecosystem can be modified by the type of substrate that goes to the caecum. This means that the fermentation can lead to significant changes in food digestibility (Jørgensen et al. 2010).

Safalaoh (2006) provided a preparation of efficiency microorganisms (consisting of a defined mixture of lactobacillus and yeasts) and found increased in the efficiency of nitrogen use in broilers.

In the N (g/d) excretion there were not differences between treatments, although there was in the N intake, with lower values for moringa meal. It is important to clarify that the data could be controversial, because Nuengjamnong and Luangtongkum (2014) showed that the use of efficient microorganisms in diets for broilers favored the reduction in the N excretion. The authors considered that the obtained results could also be given by the sample size which was used.

The fermented diets can stimulate indirectly the protein digestion by reducing the gastric pH, essential aspect to increase the pepsin activity. These acidic conditions reduce the gastric emptying rate, so that the time for gastric digestion increase, which favors that in the small intestine degrade and absorb more protein (Canibe et al. 2013).

Betancourt and Romero (2002) stated that the amino acid metabolism and acid-base homeostasis are closely related, due to the protein degradation generates inorganic acids which dependent from the amino acid pattern. Specifically, in the degradation of the basic amino acids tends to cause metabolic acidosis. This metabolic state stimulates protein degradation by glucocorticoids and reduces nitrogen retention (May et al. 1986). These hypotheses must be taken into consideration for future studies.

The use of digestibility to evaluate the N use, although it is accepted as approved procedure, is incorrect. This is because in the metabolism of dietary and endogenous N influences the degradation of caecal microbial population. Therefore, the fecal digestibility of N tends to overestimate the availability of the protein content of diet (Sauer and Ozimek 1986). However, there are evidences that suggest microbial activity in the small intestine. This fact is supported by the refluxes that occur in the digestive system of birds (Bach and Jensen 1991).

The fecal apparent digestibility of N did not differ in roosters fed the control diet and dry Vitafert, so higher values were obtained. Whereas, with the inclusion of dry fermented product in the diet containing moringa forage meal, the digestibility increased with respect to diet does not contain this biological additive. It   is concluded that the dry Vitafert favored the increase in the fecal apparent digestibility of nitrogen in colostomized roosters that consume moringa forage meal.



We thank to DMVZ. Alvaro Delgado and Ivette Orta for their collaboration in the birds surgery and the laboratory tests performance, respectively.



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Received: 8/12/2014
Accepted: 14/7/2016



Daymara Bustamante, Instituto de Ciencia Animal, Apartado Postal 24, San José de las Lajas, Mayabeque, Cuba. Email:

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