Author(s): Moran ET Jr
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Abstract Starch is the main carbohydrate in the food of poultry. Starch granules are digested by pancreatic alpha-amylase in the small intestine. Intestinal villi have enterocytes that project microvilli with a fibrous glycocalyx from the surface. These fine structures are envisaged to entrap water that is mixed with mucin from nearby goblet cells to form the "unstirred water layer." Maltose, maltotriose and alpha-limit dextrins must diffuse across this first barrier to absorption to be hydrolyzed by maltase and sucrase-isomaltase immobilized at the membrane; however, the resultant glucose, once formed, accrues at the surface to provide a concentration advantage. Fowl adjust to changes in dietary starch by altering the amount of amylase released, intestinal surface area and enterocyte carbohydrase concentration. Enterocytes arising during embryonic development have no carbohydrases and are not involved with glucose absorption, but they appear to be specialized for maternal immunoglobin transfer in ovo. Embryonic villi are stimulated by transfer activity, and their growth depends on enterocytes arising from the crypt. Mature crypt cells are capable of digestion-absorptive activities and dominate the villus shortly after the chick hatches when yolk sac reserves are depleted.
This article was published in J Nutr
and referenced in Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences