Skip to main content Accessibility help

Dietary essential oils improve feed efficiency and hepatic antioxidant content of broiler chickens

  • V. Pirgozliev (a1), S. C. Mansbridge (a1), S. P. Rose (a1), A. M. Mackenzie (a1), A. Beccaccia (a2), F. Karadas (a3), S. G. Ivanova (a4), G. P. Staykova (a4), O. O. Oluwatosin (a5) and D. Bravo (a6)...


The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis of an improved growth, dietary nutrient availability and overall health of broiler chickens reared on recycled litter when fed a standardised combination of essential oils (EO; carvacrol, cinnamaldehyde and capsicum oleoresin). To assess the effect of dietary treatments, feed intake, weight gain, feed efficiency, availability of dietary nutrients and energy, villus morphometry, excreta sialic acid concentration, hepatic antioxidants and serum amyloid A (SAA) when fed to broiler chickens were evaluated. Counts of Eimeria spp. oocysts were also determined in excreta samples. Four experimental diets were offered, including two basal control diets based on either wheat or maize that contained 215 g CP/kg and 12.13 MJ/kg metabolisable energy and another two diets using the basal control diets supplemented with the EO combination at 100 mg/kg diet. Each diet was fed to eight floor pens, containing two birds each, following randomisation. Birds fed the EO-supplemented diets had an improved (P<0.05) feed conversion ratio (FCR). Birds fed maize-based diet had an improved daily weight gain and FCR (P<0.05) compared with wheat-fed birds. Wheat-based diet tended (P=0.056) to have greater N-corrected apparent metabolisable energy and had greater fat retention coefficient (P<0.05) compared with maize-based diets. No differences (P>0.05) were observed in villus morphometry, sialic acid secretion, number of oocysts and SAA. Feeding the EO improved (P<0.05) the retention of dietary Ca and Na. Compared with maize, feeding wheat-based diets improved the retention coefficients for Ca, P and Na (P<0.05). Feeding dietary EO improved (P<0.05) the concentrations of the hepatic antioxidants, including carotene, coenzyme Q10 and total vitamin E. The hepatic concentration of carotene of the maize-fed birds was 55.6% greater (P<0.05) compared with the wheat-fed birds. These results demonstrated that the addition of a standardised combination of EO in wheat- and maize-based diets provided benefits in terms of feed efficiency, mineral retention and antioxidant status of the birds when reared on recycled litter.


Corresponding author


Hide All
Abdulla, JM, Rose, SP, Mackenzie, AM and Pirgozliev, VR 2017. Feeding value of field beans (Vicia faba L. var. minor) with and without enzyme containing tannase, pectinase and xylanase activities for broilers. Archives of Animal Nutrition 71, 150164.
Altop, A, Erener, G, Duru, ME and Isik, K 2017. Effects of essential oils from Liquidambar orientalis Mill leaves on growth performance, carcass and some organ traits, some blood metabolites and intestinal microbiota in broilers. British Poultry Science ( doi: 10.1080/00071668.2017.1400657 , Published online by Taylor and Francis 7 December 2017.
Amad, AA, Manner, K, Wendler, KR, Neumann, K and Zentek, J 2011. Effects of a phytogenic feed additive on growth performance and ileal nutrient digestibility in broiler chickens. Poultry Science 90, 28112816.
Annison, G, Hughes, RJ and Choct, M 1996. Effects of enzyme supplementation on the nutritive value of dehulled lupins. British Poultry Science 37, 157172.
Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) 2000. Official methods of analysis, 17th edition. AOAC, Gaithersburg, MD, USA.
Bozkurt, M, Küçükyilmaz, K, Uğur Çatli, A, Özyildiz, Z, Çinar, M, Çabuk, M and Çoven, F 2012. Influences of an essential oil mixture supplementation to corn versus wheat-based practical diets on growth, organ size, intestinal morphology and immune response of male and female broilers. Italian Journal of Animal Science 11, 290297.
Bravo, D, Pirgozliev, V and Rose, SP 2014. A mixture of carvacrol, cinnamaldehyde and capsicum oleoresin improves energy utilisation and growth performance of chickens fed maize based diet. Journal of Animal Science 92, 15311536.
Bravo, D, Utterback, P and Parsons, CM 2011. Evaluation of a mixture of carvacrol, cinnamaldehyde, and capsicum oleoresin for improving growth performance and metabolizable energy in broiler chicks fed corn and soybean meal. Journal of Applied Poultry Research 20, 115120.
Burt, S 2004. Essential oils: their antibacterial properties and potential applications in foods – a review. International Journal of Food Microbiology 94, 223253.
Chamanza, R, Toussaint, MJM, van Ederen, AM, van Veen, L, Hulskamp‐Koch, C and Fabri, THF 1999. Serum amyloid A and transferrin in chicken. A preliminary investigation of using acute‐phase variables to assess diseases in chickens. Veterinary Quarterly 21, 158162.
Chapman, HD, Cherry, TE, Danforth, HD, Richards, G, Shirley, MW and Williams, RB 2002. Sustainable coccidiosis control in poultry production: the role of live vaccines. International Journal for Parasitology 32, 617629.
Dänicke, S, Simon, O, Jeroch, H, Keller, K, Gläser, K, Kluge, H and Bedford, MR 1999. Effects of dietary fat type, pentosan level and xylanase supplementation on digestibility of nutrients and metabolizability of energy in male broilers. Archives of Animal Nutrition 52, 245261.
Dhuley, JN 1999. Anti-oxidant effects of cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) bark and greater cardamom (Amomum subulatum) seeds in rats fed a high fat diet. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology 37, 238242.
Eckersall, PD 2000. Recent advances and future prospects for the use of acute phase proteins as markers of disease in animals. Revue de Médecine Vétérinaire 151, 577584.
Hardy, B 2002. The issue of antibiotic use in the livestock industry: what have we learned? Animal Biotechnology 13, 129147.
Hill, FW and Anderson, DL 1958. Comparison of metabolisable energy and productive energy determinations with growing chicks. Journal of Nutrition 64, 587603.
Hodgson, JN 1970. Coccidiosis: oocyst-counting technique for coccidiostat evaluation. Experimental Parasitology 28, 99102.
Hosseini SF, Zandi M, Rezaei M and Farahmandghavi F 2013. Two-step method for encapsulation of oregano essential oil in chitosan nanoparticles: preparation, characterization and in vitro release study. Carbohydrate Polymers, 95, 5056.
Iskender, H, Yenice, G, Dokumacioglu, E, Kaynar, O, Hayirli, A and Kaya, A 2017. Comparison of the effects of dietary supplementation of flavonoids on laying hen performance, egg quality and egg nutrient profile. British Poultry Science 58, 550556.
Jamroz, D, Wertelecki, T, Houszka, M and Kamel, C 2006. Influence of diet type on the inclusion of plant origin active substances on morphological and histochemical characteristics of the stomach and jejunum walls in chicken. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 90, 255268.
Jourdian, GW, Dean, L and Roseman, S 1971. The sialic acids XI. A periodate-resorcinol method for the quantitative estimation of free sialic acids and their glycosides. The Journal of Biological Chemistry 246, 430435.
Karadas, F, Pirgozliev, V, Rose, SP, Dimitrov, D, Oduguwa, O and Bravo, D 2014. Dietary essential oils improve the hepatic anti-oxidative status of broiler chickens. British Poultry Science 55, 329334.
Karadas, F, Surai, P, Grammenidis, E, Sparks, N and Acamovic, T 2006. Supplementation on the maternal diet with tomato powder and marigold extract: effects on the antioxidant system of the developing quail. British Poultry Science 47, 200208.
Lee, SH, Lillehoj, HS, Jang, SI, Lee, KW, Park, MS, Bravo, D and Lillehoj, EP 2011. Cinnamaldehyde enhances in vitro parameters of immunity and reduces in vivo infection against avian coccidiosis. British Journal of Nutrition 106, 862869.
Panfili, G, Fratianni, A and Irano, M 2004. Improved normal-phase high-performance liquid chromatography procedure for the determination of carotenoids in cereals. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 52, 63736377.
Platel, K, Rao, A, Saraswathi, G and Srinivasan, K 2002. Digestive stimulant action of three Indian spice mixes in experimental rats. Nahrung – Food 46, 394398.
Pirgozliev, V, Acamovic, T and Bedford, MR 2009. Previous exposure to dietary phytase reduces the endogenous energy losses from precision-fed chickens. British Poultry Science 50, 598605.
Pirgozliev, V, Bravo, D and Rose, SP 2014. Rearing conditions influence nutrient availability of plant extracts supplemented diets when fed to broiler chickens. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 98, 667671.
Pirgozliev, V, Mirza, MW and Rose, SP 2016. Does the effect of pelleting depend on the wheat sample? Animal 10, 571577.
Salami, SA, Guinguina, A, Agboola, JO, Omede, AA, Agbonlahor, EM and Tayyab, U 2016. Review: In vivo and postmortem effects of feed antioxidants in livestock: a review of the implications on authorization of antioxidant feed additives. Animal 10, 13751390.
Scholey, D, Burton, E, Morgan, N, Sanni, C, Madsen, CK, Dionisio, G and Brinch-Pedersen, H 2017. P and Ca digestibility is increased in broiler diets supplemented with the high-phytase HIGHPHY wheat. Animal 11, 14571463.
Tanner, SD, Baranov, VI and Bandura, DR 2002. Reaction cells and collision cells for ICP-MS: a tutorial review. Spectrochimica Acta Part B: Atomic Spectroscopy 57, 13611452.
Uyar, A, Yener, Z and Dogan, A 2016. Protective effects of Urtica dioica seed extract in aflatoxicosis: histopathological and biochemical findings. British Poultry Science 57, 235245.
Windisch W, Schedle K, Plitzner C and Kroismayr A 2008. Use of phytogenic products as feed additives for swine and poultry. Journal of Animal Science, 86, E140–E148.
Xu, ZR, Hu, CH, Xia, MS, Zhan, XA and Wang, MQ 2003. Effects of dietary fructooligosaccharide on digestive enzyme activities, intestinal microflora and morphology of male broilers. Poultry Science 82, 648654.



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed