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Environmental Benefits of Feeding Palm Kernel Meal Revealed

28 June 2013

INDONESIA - A new study reveals how feeding can be adjusted to reduce the environmental impacts of egg production from native breeds.

Scientists based at the University of Jambi have investigated the effects on excreta nitrogen, ammonia and microbial counts of feeding native laying hens diets containing palm kernel meal, with or without enzyme supplementations.

According to Y. Yusrizal and co-authors in a paper in Journal of Applied Poultry Research, previous work showed that feeding the laying hens a diet containing up to 30 per cent palm kernel meal (PKM) resulted in comparable egg production to that of hens fed a corn-soybean meal (control) diet regardless of enzyme supplementation.

In the present paper, they focus on the effect of the PKM diet on nitrogen excretion, ammonia volatilisation, as well as microbial counts.

A total of 180 48-week-old local hens were allotted to 180 cages (one bird per cage) in a curtain-sided house. Twelve diets were assigned randomly to 15 cages each.

The diets were a factorial combination of three levels of PKM (0, 15 and 30 per cent), two concentrations of a fibre-degrading enzyme [0 and 15 units β-glucanase (major enzyme) activity per kg diet; Ronozyme VP, DSM Nutritional Products Inc., Basel, Switzerland], and two concentrations of phytase + protease mixture [0 and 2,000 units of phytase (Ronozyme NP) + 12,500 units of protease (Ronozyme ProAct) activity per kg of diet; both products of DSM Nutritional Products Inc.].

Diets were isocaloric (2,758kcal ME per kg) and contained 17.5 to 18.4 per cent CP and were fed for 10 weeks.

At week 4, excreta dry matter (but not nitrogen) increased as dietary PKM concentrations increased  - 19.44, 21.98 and 23.02 per cent for 0, 15 and 30 per cent PKM, respectively (P≤0.005). However, there were no effects of enzyme supplementations on excreta dry matter or nitrogen.

Decreases in excreta ammonia of 36 to 47 per cent (P≤0.0001) associated with PKM concentration or of 11 to 18 per cent (P≤0.05) associated with the use of fibre-degrading enzyme were observed.

Although phytase + protease supplementation did not show a significant effect on ammonia reduction, interaction effects of enzymes with PKM on ammonia were observed.

Moreover, increasing PKM to 30 per cent resulted in increased Lactobacillus spp. and reduced coliform/Escherichia coli counts (P≤0.005), and lower (P≤0.05) excreta pH.

Interaction effects between PKM and individual enzymes used on Lactobacillus spp. or between PKM and both enzymes on coliform/E. coli were observed.


Yusrizal Y., R. Angel, A. Adrizal, B.E. Wanto, S. Fakhri and Y. Yatno. 2013. Feeding native laying hens diets containing palm kernel meal with or without enzyme supplementations. 2. Excreta nitrogen, ammonia, and microbial counts. J. Appl. Poult. Res. 22(2):269-278. doi: 10.3382/japr.2012-00633 

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