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Fermenting rice bran and maize with Saccharomyces cerevisiae and feeding the fermented product to chickens

Phan Thi Hang, Tran Thi Thu Hong, Tran Sang Tao, Nguyen Hai Quan, Tran Thi Na, Le Duc Thao, Yasuharu Shimamura1, Hiroshi Kamisoyama2 and Duong Thanh Hai

Faculty of Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Hue University of Agriculture and Forestry, Hue University, Hue city, Vietnam
1 Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies, Kobe University, Hyogo, Japan
2 Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Kobe University, Hyogo, Japan


The objective of this study was to evaluate: (i) the effect of fermenting rice bran and maize with Saccharomyces cerevisiae; and (ii) feeding the fermented product together with a protein supplement to crossbred chickens. For the initial fermentation, Saccharomyces cerevisiae powder was added to a mixture of maize and rice bran at the rate of 0.5g/kg of feed mixture (107cfu/g). The growth study was conducted with 240 crossbred chicken (Ri x Luong Phuong) starting at 4 weeks of age. The chickens were arranged randomly in 8 cages corresponding to the two treatments (Control and Fermented feed) with 4 replications of each treatment. There were no effects of the fermented feed on growth and feed conversion. In contrast, the fermented feed supported increases in DM digestibility of 5.4%, of protein by 10.1% and the height of the villi in the duodenum by 17%.

Keywords: digestibility, intestine, villi, yeast


Antibiotics have been used as feed additives to improve growth performance and to control diseases in animals. However, using antibiotics may produce antibiotic resistance and the presence of antibiotic residues in animal products (Gaskins et al 2002; Nisha 2008). Probiotics have therefore become important as replacements for antibiotics as feed additives (Fuller 1992; Steiner 2006).

Saccharomyces cerevisiae is rich in nutrients (Moore et al 1994) as well as being a source of live yeast that has been shown to improve animal performance (Martin et al 1989; Paryad et al 2008) and to reduce disease (Line et al 1997). Feed fermented with probiotics (Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Aspergillus oryzae) and used in in pig production has been reported to balance the intestinal microflora, improve health of the intestinal tract, increase absorption of nutrients, reduce the rate of microorganisms that cause disease, and stimulate the immune system, thereby controlling disease and reducing environmental pollution (Tran et al 2013). Diets fermented with Pichia Kudriavzevii for chickens improved body weight gain, reduced feed intake and increased economic efficiency for producers (Tran et al 2017). However, studies on the use of feeds fermented with Saccharomyces cerevisiae in chicken production are still limited. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of fermenting a diet based on maize and rice bran using Saccharomyces cerevisiae and feeding the fermented diet to crossbred Ri chicken.

Materials and methods

Preparation of fermented feed

The maize and rice bran (Table 1 were mixed and fermented aerobically with Saccharomyces cerevisiae powder (0.5g/kg DM equivalent to 107cfu/g of feed DM) for 5h at room temperature (27 – 30C). The fermented feed It was then stored in closed polyethylene bags at room temperature for 3 days of anaerobic fermentation. After fermentation, the feed was mixed with the remaining components of the diet (Table 1).

Experimental design and manangement

Crossbred chickens (Ri x Luong Phuong) (n=240) at 4-weeks-old were allocated randomly to 8 cages corresponding to two treatments (Control and Fermented) with 4 replications each. The chickens were raised in cages (2m x 2m) from 5 to 13-weeks of age. Feed and water were provided ad libitum.

Table 1. Composition of the diets
Ingredients (%) 5 – 8 weeks 8 – 13 weeks
Control Fermented Control Fermented
Yellow maize 59.5 59.5 65 65
Rice bran 15 15 15 15
Protein concentrate# 25 25 19.5 19.5
Premix@ 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5
Proximal analysis (% in DM)  
Crude protein 19.9 21.3 17.9 19.2
True protein 16.6 17.7 14.5 15.6
Lipids 5.2 5.2 5.1 5.1
Crude fiber 2.7 2.7 2.8 2.8
Ash 6.7 7.4 5.7 6.4
#Soybean meal, fish meal vitamin, organic minerals@Vitamin A, D3, E, K3, B1, B2, B12, Folic acid, Nicotinic acid, Pantothenic acid, Fe, Cu, Zn, Mn, Co, I, Se, Rice hulls, CaCO3
Growth and feed intake

Feed intake was recorded daily. The chickens were weighed weekly.

Histology of the small intestine

From each experimental group, 8 chickens (4 male; 4 female) were selected at 7 weeks of age. with in body weight representative of the treatments. They were slaughtered and samples of the small intestine (approximately 2 cm in length) were cut from the midpoint of each segment (duodenum, jejunum, ileum) and fixed immediately in 10% formalin PBS. For the intestinal histologysections were cut and stained with hematoxyline and eosin. The villi were measured by the method of Wang et al (2008). For each segment of the small intestine (duodenum, jejunum, ileum) 9 slides were made of intact, well-oriented villi units. The villus height was measured from the top of the villus to the villus-crypt junction. The villus width was defined as the distance from the outside epithelial edge to the outside of the opposite epithelial edge along a line passing through the vertical midpoint of the villus. Each villus was measured in triplicate. All measurements were observed under the microscope (Euromex [Netherlands] Micro-ruler measuring kit; MR-01, MR-02, MR-03) to determine the height and width of villi.

Apparent digestibility coefficients

These were determined by the method of Gao et al (2008). From each experimental group 8 chickens, 8 weeks- old (4 male; 4 female) were selected on the basis of their weight equivalent to the average weight of the group. These chickens were raised in individual cages (30 x 60 x 40 cm) (2 chicken/ cage). Excreta was collected for 4 days after a 3-day adaptation period. Water and feed were provided ad libitum in the adaptation period. During the collection, the period feed was provided at 70% of the amount consumed in the adaptation period.

Dry matter, crude protein, true protein and ash of feed and excreta samples were analysed by AOAC (1990) methods.

Statistical analysis

The data were analysed by the GLM option in the ANOVA program of the Minitab (2016) software.

Results and discussion

Growth performance

Fermentation with Saccharomyces cerevisiae of the rice bran – maize did not affect feed intake, growth rate or feed conversion (Table 2). These results are in agreement with research on Ross chicken by Kang et al (2015) and on Arbor Acres chicken by Chen et al (2009) showing that supplementing chicken diets with Saccharomyces cerevisiae powder or fermenting diets with Saccharomyces cerevisiae did not improve growth performance.

Table 2. Mean values for growth performance of chickens fed diets with the rice bran – maize component fermented with Saccharomyces cerevisiae or not fermented
Control Fermented SEM p
Live weight, g


430 429 0.39 0.23


1342 1368 21.6 0.58
Gain 912 939 21.5 0.57
Feed intake, g 3093 3045 21.0 0.29
Feed conversion 3.4 3.2 0.06 0.25
Digestibility coefficients

The digestibility coefficients for dry matter and crude protein were higher for chickens fed the fermented feed compared with the control (Table 3). This may be because Saccharomyces cerevisiae secretes digestive enzymes such as protease, amylase and lipase (Koh et al 2002).

Table 3. Mean values for digestibility coefficients for chickens fed diets with the rice bran – maize component fermented with Saccharomyces cerevisiae or not fermented
Control Fermented SEM p
Dry matter 77.0 81.1 0.84 <0.001
Crude protein 61.3 67.4 1.42 0.02
Histological measurements of the small intestinal

Most of the villi were intact (Figure 1). Their height in the duodenum section was increased by17.0% in the chickens fed the fermented feed (Table 4). The height and width of the villi in the jejunum and ileum were not affected by pre-fermentation of the feed. The greater height of the villi indicates a more mature epithelium and enhanced absorptive function, leading to increases in the activities of enzymes secreted from the tips of the villi (Hampson 1986), in turn resulting in improved digestibility.

Table 4. Mean values for height and width of the villi in sections of the small intestine
Dimension, µm Control Fermented SEM p
Duodenum Height 1044 1222 39.2 <0.01
Width 237 201 11.9 0.14
Jejunem Height 634 661 14.4 0.38
Width 194 249 15.8 0.08
Ileum Height 442 432 12.9 0.72
Width 204 203 16.0 0.98

Control diet
Duodenum Jejunum Ileum

Fermented feed
Duodenum Jejunum Ileum

Figure 1. Effect of fermented feed on the villi in the different segments of the intestine


Fermenting rice bran and maize with Saccharomyces cerevisiae and including the fermented feed in the diet of chickens did not affect their growth rate but increased the DM and crude protein digestibility of the feed and increased the height of the villi in the duodenum section of the small intestine.


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Received 5 December 2019; Accepted 15 December 2019; Published 1 February 2020

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