Report on the Agricultural Experiment Stations, 1953 Page: 53
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POULTRY RESEARCH 53
liver oil in the diet of growing chicks produced a severe disturbance
of the nervous system in some of them. Subsequent research at the
New York (Cornell) and Storrs (Connecticut) stations, as well as by
the Department, showed that natural and synthetic alpha-tocopherol
(vitamin E) prevents the development of nutritional encephalomalacia
when fed simultaneously with, but independently of, a high-fat ration.
In recent work by the Storrs station (Connecticut), a high incidence
of encephalomalacia was produced in chicks that were hatched from
hens deficient in vitamin E, and were raised on a low vitamin E diet
containing 2 percent of "vitamins A and D feeding oil."'
Remarkable protection against this disorder was obtained by feeding
diphenyl-para-phenylenediamine, an antioxidant used to protect
carotene in feeds. The mortality of chicks fed the basal diet containing
2 percent oil without the antioxidant was 59 percent, whereas
chicks fed the antioxidant showed very low mortality. The fact that
diphenyl-para-phenylenediamine is not absorbed from the intestine
indicates that the causative agent of encephalomalacia arises either in
the feed or in the intestinal tract in the absence of an antioxidant and
that the absorption of the antioxidant into the tissues is unnecessary
for protection of the chick.
The role of antibiotics in nutrition
Since bacterial contamination of the environment was considered
likely to influence the action of antibiotics in stimulating growth in
chicks, studies have been carried out at the Maryland and Texas stations,
and by the Department, to compare results in a clean and a
normal environment. Chicks reared at the Maryland station in a new
room containing new equipment grew more rapidly than chicks reared
under the usual environment for battery brooder-reared chicks. This
was true regardless of the type of ration used. The addition of
penicillin did not appreciably improve the growth of chicks reared
in the very clean environment, whereas a growth response was observed
in the normal environment.
Previous work by the Maryland station has shown that antibiotics
increase the number of coliform bacteria and reduce the numbers of
lactobacilli in the chick cecum. Accordingly, chicks were fed massive
cultures of these coliform organisms to determine their influence on
growth. Slight but consistent increases in growth over controls were
noted when these cultures were fed. At the Texas station it was found
than antibiotics produce a significant decrease in anaerobic (clostridia)
bacteria in fecal material and that such decreases can be associated
with increases in chick growth. The results suggest that chick
growth is influenced by the types and numbers of micro-organisms
present in the intestinal tract of the chick.
New and unidentified factors
In the face of the newer knowledge of nutrition which has revealed
a multitude of factors-vitamins, amino acids, minerals, hormones,
fatty acids-involved in proper nutrition, there are still many unknown
nutrients that challenge the research worker. Among the
stations that have accepted the challenge are Idaho, Iowa, Maryland,
Minnesota, New York (Cornell), Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.
According to experimental results obtained at the Arizona and
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United States. Office of Experiment Stations. Report on the Agricultural Experiment Stations, 1953, book, 1953; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5989/m1/55/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.