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Effects of Four Different Doses of E. coli Phytase on Femur Properties of 16-week-old Turkeys

13 April 2015

Dietary supplementation with a phytase enzyme improved the geometric, densitometric and mechanical properties of the femur leg bone in turkeys in this Polish experiment.

The enzyme phytase is able to initiate the release of phosphates from phytic acid, making it available for absorption within gastrointestinal tract and following utilisation, according to a recent paper in BMC Veterinary Research.

The aim of this study, by Marcin Tatara at the University of Life Sciences in Lublin and others at the Medical University of Lublin and University of Warmia and Mazury, was to determine effects of Escherichia coli phytase administration on morphological, densitometric and mechanical properties of femur in 16-week-old turkeys.

One-day-old BUT Big-6 males were assigned to six weight-matched groups.

Turkeys receiving diet with standard phosphorus and calcium content belonged to the positive control group (Group I). Negative control group (Group II) consisted of birds fed diet with lowered phosphorus and calcium content. Turkeys belonging to the remaining groups have received the same diet as group II but enriched with graded levels of phytase: 125 (Group III), 250 (Group IV), 500 (Group V) and 1,000 (Group VI) FTU per kg.

At 12 days of age, the final bodyweights were determined and the turkeys were sacrifised to obtain right femur for analyses. Geometric and densitometric properties of femur were determined using quantitative computed tomography (QCT) technique, while mechanical evaluation was performed in three-point bending test.

Phytase administration increased cross-sectional area, second moment of inertia, mean relative wall thickness, cortical bone mineral density and maximum elastic strength decreasing cortical bone area of femur (P<0.05).

Reduced dietary calcium and phosphorus content decreased final body weight of turkeys by 6.5 per cent (P=0.006).

The most advantageous effects of phytase administration on geometric, densitometric and mechanical properties of femur were observed in turkeys receiving 125 and 250FTU per kg of the diet.

Phytase administration at the dosages of 500 and 1,000FTU per kg of the diet improved the final bodyweight in turkeys.

The results obtained in this study, concluded Tatara and co-authors, indicate a possible practical application of E. coli phytase in turkey feeding to improve skeletal system properties and function.


Tatara M.R., W. Krupski, K. Kozlowski, A. Drazbo and J. Jankowski. 2015. Effects of administration of four different doses of Escherichia coli phytase on femur properties of 16-week-old turkeys. BMC Veterinary Research. 11:69 doi:10.1186/s12917-015-0385-x

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April 2015

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