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Prebiotics are non-digestible feed ingredients which are supposed to beneficially affect the host by selctively stimulating the growth or metabolic activity of a limited number of intestinal microorganisms, e.g. bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus spp. Prebiotic substrates should neither be digestible by host enzymes nor absorbable in the gastrointestinal tract. Inulin has already been identified as a prebiotic agent. Extracts of brown algae may meet similar criteria, because of the presence of fermentable ß-glucans in the extract. This study was carried out to assay the influence of inulin and a brown algae extract on selected bacterial groups in the intestinal tract in broilers and on in vitro growth of bacteria isolated from broiler chicken.