Interactive effects of dietary arginine and Eimeria acervulina infection on broiler growth performance and metabolism

S. J. Rochell, A. Helmbrecht, C. M. Parsons, R. N. Dilger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The influence of dietary Arg concentration and Eimeria acervulina infection on broiler growth performance and plasma carotenoid, nitric oxide (NO), amino acid, and urea concentrations was evaluated. Male Ross × Ross 308 broilers (384 total) were fed a common diet for 10 d post-hatch and provided experimental diets formulated to contain 1.23 (HA) or 0.74% (LA) standardized ileal digestible Arg from 10 to 28 d. At 21 d, one-half of the broilers were switched to the opposite diet to create 4 dietary regimens where birds were fed the LA diet throughout, the LA diet replaced by the HA diet at 21 d, the HA diet throughout, or the HA diet replaced by the LA diet at 21 d. Broilers were orally inoculated 0 (uninfected) or 3.5 × 105 sporulated E. acervulina oocysts at 15 d, resulting in a factorial arrangement of 4 dietary regimens × 2 infection states (8 replicates/treatment). Overall (10 to 28 d) BW gain and G:F were greatest (P < 0.01) for birds fed the HA diet throughout, regardless of infection status. Eimeria acervulina infection decreased (P < 0.01) BW gain of birds from 15 to 21 d, and G:F was lowest (P < 0.05) for infected birds fed the LA diet during this period. There was no influence (P > 0.05) of E. acervulina on BW gain or G:F of broilers from 21 to 28 d. Plasma Arg, Lys, and Orn levels at 21 d indicated that the LA diet caused an imbalance in the Lys and Arg status of broilers, and E. acervulina infection increased (P < 0.01) the plasma concentration of these 3 amino acids. Diet × infection interactions (P < 0.05) were observed on 21 d for plasma carotenoids and NO, whereby infection decreased plasma carotenoids and increased plasma NO, but dietary Arg concentration only influenced these measures for uninfected birds. Thus, production of NO during E. acervulina infection was not impaired by dietary Arg limitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-666
Number of pages8
JournalPoultry science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017


  • Arginine
  • Broiler
  • Coccidiosis
  • Eimeria
  • Nitric oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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