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      Essential oil and aromatic plants as feed additives in non-ruminant nutrition: a review


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          This paper summarizes the current knowledge regarding the possible modes of action and nutritional factors involved in the use of essential oils (EOs) for swine and poultry. EOs have recently attracted increased interest as feed additives to be fed to swine and poultry, possibly replacing the use of antibiotic growth promoters which have been prohibited in the European Union since 2006. In general, EOs enhance the production of digestive secretions and nutrient absorption, reduce pathogenic stress in the gut, exert antioxidant properties and reinforce the animal’s immune status, which help to explain the enhanced performance observed in swine and poultry. However, the mechanisms involved in causing this growth promotion are far from being elucidated, since data on the complex gut ecosystem, gut function, in vivo oxidative status and immune system are still lacking. In addition, limited information is available regarding the interaction between EOs and feed ingredients or other feed additives (especially pro- or prebiotics and organic acids). This knowledge may help feed formulators to better utilize EOs when they formulate diets for poultry and swine.

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          Essential oils in poultry nutrition: Main effects and modes of action

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            The effect of herbs and their associated essential oils on performance, dietary digestibility and gut microflora in chickens from 7 to 28 days of age.

            1. The effect of the dietary inclusion of 5 culinary herbs or their essential oils on the growth, digestibility and intestinal microflora status in female broiler chicks was assessed. From 7 to 28 d of age, either a basal control diet without supplement was given or one of 10 others, consisting of the basal diet with either 10 g/kg herb (thyme, oregano, marjoram, rosemary or yarrow) or 1 g/kg of essential oil. 2. Body mass (BM) and feed consumption (AFC) were measured on a weekly basis and used to calculate chick performance. Total viable counts of lactic acid bacteria, coliforms, anaerobes and Clostridium perfringens were determined at 25 d. Apparent nutrient digestibilities were calculated from the measured values for gross energy, nitrogen (N), dry matter (DM) and organic matter, and sialic acid concentration was also measured. 3. Generally, dietary thyme oil or yarrow herb inclusion had the most positive effects on chick performance, while oregano herb and yarrow oil were the poorest supplements. Only thyme and yarrow in these diets had a different effect when used as a herb or oil on weight gain and BM. 4. Dietary treatment had no effect on the intestinal microflora populations, apparent metabolisable energy (AME) or the calculated coefficients of digestibility. Sialic acid concentration was greatest in the birds given dietary thyme oil, compared with all other treatments except those birds receiving marjoram oil, rosemary herb and the controls. However, less sialic acid was excreted in those birds given diets with oregano or rosemary oils, or oregano herb, than in the controls. 5. Plant extracts in diets may therefore affect chick performance, gut health and endogenous secretions, although the chemical composition of the extract appears to be important in obtaining the optimal effects.
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              Effects of dietary essential oil components on growth performance, digestive enzymes and lipid metabolism in female broiler chickens.

              1. The present experiment was conducted to describe the effects of thymol, cinnamaldehyde and a commercial preparation of essential oil components (CRINA Poultry), in female broilers. Feed and water were provided for ad libitum consumption. 2. Feed intake, weight gain and feed:gain ratio were not different among the treatments. Water intake was significantly lowered by cinnamaldehyde. Relative liver weight (g/100 g of body weight) was highest in birds given thymol, but this was seen only at the age of 21 d and not at 40 d. Patterns of digestive enzymes in pancreatic tissue were similar for the 4 treatments. 3. Amylase activity in intestinal digesta was highest in chickens given CRINA Poultry for 21 d, but the effect had disappeared after 40 d. Ileal digestibility coefficients for starch and protein were high and identical for all treatments. 4. Fatty acid composition of diet was reflected in that of adipose tissue. Plasma lipid concentrations were not changed by any dietary treatment. 5. Thus, the present results show no effect of essential oil constituents on growth performance in female broiler chickens, but it cannot be excluded that positive effects would have been observed under less hygienic environmental conditions or when using a less digestible diet.

                Author and article information

                J Anim Sci Biotechnol
                J Anim Sci Biotechnol
                Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology
                BioMed Central (London )
                24 February 2015
                24 February 2015
                : 6
                : 1
                : 7
                State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Ministry of Agriculture Feed Industry Centre, China Agricultural University, Beijing, 100193 China
                © Zeng et al.; licensee BioMed Central. 2015

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                : 3 October 2014
                : 4 February 2015
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2015

                Animal science & Zoology
                antimicrobial,antioxidant,essential oils,feed additives,growth promoter,gut function,immunity


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