Why use Xylanase Enzymes in Poultry and Pig production?

Dr Stuart Wilkinson

[email protected]


The nutritional value of grains and other raw materials is negatively affected by their dietary fibre content. A key component of soluble and insoluble dietary fibre is arabinoxylan which is found in plant cell walls.


The negative effects of arabinoxylan in dietary fibre include:


 Insoluble Fibre

  • Acting as a physical barrier to the animal™s own enzymes, encapsulating useful nutrients


Soluble Fibre

  • Increasing digesta viscosity leading to:

– Decreased feed intake by slowing the passage rate of digesta in the gut

– Reduced nutrient utilisation as the animal™s own enzymes cannot easily reach their substrate

– Wet litter or soft/watery faeces due to detrimental changes to the gut microflora


Insoluble and Soluble Fibre

  • Wasting valuable energy and protein/amino acids as the animal needlessly produces more of its own enzymes that are inappropriate to deal with dietary fibre


Using an effective xylanase enzyme targets the arabinoxylan fraction (see table below) of the fibre in many raw materials e.g. grains, grain by-products and vegetable protein meals. Xylanase improves digestion and reduces production costs by releasing nutrients, reducing digesta viscosity and the production of excessive secretions into the gut; reducing variability in the feeding value of grain and other raw materials, improving litter quality and faecal consistency.


rain Arabinoxylan content (%) Arabinoxylan Solubility (%)
Wheat 6.0 25
Rye 8.5 33
Triticale 5.7 24
Barley 7.4 12
Corn 3.9 8
Wheat Middlings 16.5 10
Corn DDGS 12.7 10
Soybean meal 3.8 21
Canola meal 6.5 22



The product we use and recommend is Danisco® Xylanase which is a preparation of endo-1,4-ßxylanase produced by Trichoderma reesei. Danisco® Xylanase is designed and extensively tested for use in pig and poultry diets. This is from the company that developed the original commercial application of enzymes for animal feed, so we have great confidence in their products and support.


One of the important services developed by Danisco is Avicheck. Avicheckâ„¢ describes dose response relationships for Danisco Xylanase according to grain ˜quality™ “ as assessed by Avicheckâ„¢ in vitro viscosity measurements of grain samples sent to a designated lab. We™ve used this for over 20 years and it is especially important with new seasons grains to understand what pig and poultry producers are dealing with each year. It™s also a valuable tool to make economic decisions on the most appropriate dose rate of Danisco Xylanase â„¢.


In summary improving digestibility of grains with xylanase, especially wheat and barley, allows for improved FCR, ADG and litter quality. All leading to improved profitability by using xylanase in broiler and pig production.


If you have any questions or would like further information on our experience using xylanase, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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