Written by: Dr. Jacquie Jacob, University of Kentucky
Arabinoxylan is a pentosan, which is a group of polysaccharides made up of the five-sugar pentose molecules arabinose and xylose. Arabinoxylan is a hemicellulose found in both the primary and secondary cell walls of plants, including cereal grains.
Insoluble and soluble arabinoxylans exist. The water-soluble arabinoxylans change the viscosity of the intestinal contents, resulting in reduced nutrient digestibility and absorption. Therefore, arabinoxylans are considered antinutritional factors in wheat. Commercial enzymes are available that can be added to poultry feed to counter the negative effects of arabinoxylans.