Impact of a sustained consumption of grape extract on digestion, gut microbial metabolism and intestinal barrier in broiler chickens
The effect of dietary supplementation with grape extract (GE) at 2.5 and 5.0 g kg−1 of feed on intestinal utilization of polyphenols and gut health of broiler chickens was determined. The ileal digestibility of grape polyphenols was higher for flavan-3-ol monomers [(+)-catechin and (−)-epicatechin] than for dimers (Procyanidins B1 and B2) and galloylated compounds [(−)-epicatechingallate] and no differences among 2.5 and 5.0 g GE per kg dietary treatments were observed. The excreta concentration of benzoic, phenylacetic, phenylpropionic, and cinnamic acids and phenyl-γ-valerolactone phenolic metabolites was higher in birds fed GE, confirming hence the microbial metabolism of grape polyphenols to a relevant extent. Gut morphology and the total ileal mucin content were not modified by the dietary inclusion of GE, but a lower sialic acid concentration was observed in those birds fed a higher concentration of GE. Escherichia coli and lactic-acid bacteria ileal counts were reduced in birds fed GE. Overall, these results prove the extensive intestinal utilization and microbial metabolism of grape polyphenols in broiler chickens. Some antimicrobial and mucin-modulation effects were also observed after a sustained consumption of grape polyphenols during 21 days.