Implication of rate of starch digestion and fibre degradation on broiler chicken growth performance when fed wheat-based diets PhD Studentship (36 months funding)
This project aims to characterize the chemical composition and in particular the fibre composition and nutrient availability of different wheat cultivar samples for broiler chickens. The effect of chemical composition, fibre degrading enzymes and functional fibres on bird growth, rate of starch digestion, fibre degradation and nutrient availability will be studied.
Feed constitutes nearly 70 per cent of total production cost in poultry and pig production. Wheat is the most used raw material in poultry diets in North West Europe, Canada and Australasia. Wheat is often the only cereal used in broiler feed formulations, thus the nutritional value of wheat and variation in its feeding quality are commercially important.
The project aims to understand differences in growth performance of broiler chickens fed different wheat cultivar samples and their response to fibre degrading enzymes and functional fibres. The hypothesis is that:
1. There are differences in growth performance that not necessarily relate to the determined available nutrient content of wheat;
2. The relative improvement in growth performance due to enzyme / functional fibres supplementation is not predicted by available nutrient content of the individual wheat samples.
The objective is to identify the major digestive physiology variables that explain these differences. For example, rate of starch digestion of different wheat samples, caecal fibre degradation/fermentation, gastrointestinal development and reflux, gene expression of satiety factors etc.
The variability in the chemical composition and nutrient bio-availability of wheat samples will also be determined. Digestibility and performance studies will be employed to study the effect of enzymes and wheat cultivars. The main goal of the project is to produce recommendations for the industry on the use of enzymes and functional fibres in wheat-based broiler diets with appropriate inclusion levels.
The studentship includes tuition and bench fees and a tax-free stipend at the RCUK 2020-2021 rate. This rate is not yet published but the rate for 2019-2020 is £15,009. This 3 year PhD opportunity is underpinned by funding from AB Vista Feed Ingredients and Harper Adams University. The studentship is funded to pay the tuition and fees of UK nationals or EU nationals