Skip to main content Accessibility help

Effect of purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) diet supplementation in rabbit nutrition on performance, digestibility, health and meat quality

  • A. Kovitvadhi (a1), L. Gasco (a1) (a2), I. Ferrocino (a1), L. Rotolo (a1), S. Dabbou (a1), V. Malfatto (a1), F. Gai (a2), P. G. Peiretti (a2), M. Falzone (a3), C. Vignolini (a3), L. Cocolin (a1) and I. Zoccarato (a1)...


In this study, 160 Hycole weaned rabbits (35 days old) were randomly divided into four groups of 40. The rabbits were studied throughout a 54-day experimentation period in order to determine the impact of dietary supplementation from herbs composed of 0.2%, 0.4% dry ground Lythrum salicaria leaves (LS) and 0.3% Cunirel® (CR; a commercial herb mixture containing LS as the main ingredient) on performance, digestibility, health and meat quality. The basal diet was given to the control group. No significant differences were found in performance, 10 rabbits from each group were selected for evaluation regarding apparent digestibility. The rabbits fed the control diet and the diet with the low level of LS had a higher level of CP digestibility than did the animals that were supplemented with the high LS levels and CR (85.7% and 84.9% v. 84.0% and 84.0%, respectively; P<0.05). The ether extract digestibility was lower in the treatment group with 0.4%LS addition and CR as compared with the control group (52.2% and 54.5% v. 62.6%, respectively; P<0.05). The slaughter process was performed on 89-day-old rabbits to study the carcass characteristics, meat quality, blood parameters, caecal contents and gut histology. The total leukocyte counts in the control animals were lower than they were in the rabbits fed 0.2%, 0.4%LS and CR (4.06 v. 8.25, 8.63 and 8.21×109/l, respectively; P<0.05). For caecal fermentation, the caecal contents of the rabbits fed 0.4% of LS, showed higher concentrations of total volatile fatty acid (VFA; 24.1 v. 18.9 mg/kg dry matter (DM); P<0.05) and acetic acid (18.3 v. 14.4 mg/kg DM; P<0.05), but lower ammonia levels (594 v. 892 mg/kg DM; P<0.05) as compared with the control group. PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analyses were performed to evaluate the microbial community in hard faeces, collected at days 35, 42, 49, 56, 70 and 89, whereas the caecal contents were taken after slaughtering. The results demonstrated that between the treatment groups, the similarity of the microbial communities was higher as compared with the control group. Moreover, only age was shown to influence microbiota diversity. In conclusion, the results of this study indicated that supplementation of LS in rabbit diets leads to an increase in the total white blood cells, total VFA and acetic acid concentration, and a decrease in the ammonia levels, as well as the digestibility when CR and high level of LS were supplemented, without causing any adverse effects on other parameters.


Corresponding author


Hide All
Al-Mamary, M, Al-Habori, M, Al-Aghbari, A and Al-Obeidi, A 2001. In vivo effects of dietary sorghum tannins on rabbit digestive enzymes and mineral absorption. Nutrition Research 21, 13931401.
AOAC 2000. Official Method of Analysis, 17th edition. Association of Official Analytical Chemists, Arlington, VA, USA.
Arafa, NMS, Salem, SMA and OAHA, Farid 2010. Influence of Echinacea extract pre- or postnatal supplementation on immune and oxidative status of growing rabbits. Italian Journal of Animal Science 9, 338343.
Ayala, L, Silvana, N, Zocarrato, I and Gómez, S 2011. Use of vulgar oregano (Origanum vulgare) as phytobiotic in fatting rabbits. Cuban Journal of Agricultural Science 45, 159161.
Becker, H, Scher, JM, Speakman, JB and Zapp, J 2005. Bioactivity guided isolation of antimicrobial compounds from Lythrum salicaria . Fitoterapia 76, 580584.
Botsoglou, NA, Florou-Paneri, P, Christaki, E, Giannenas, I and Spais, AB 2004. Performance of rabbits and oxidative stability of muscle tissues as affected by dietary supplementation with oregano essential oil. Archives of Animal Nutrition 58, 209218.
Christaki, E, Bonos, E, Giannenas, I and Florou-Paneri, P 2012. Aromatic plants as a source of bioactive compounds. Agriculture 2, 228243.
Combes, S, Fortun-Lamothe, L, Cauquil, L and Gidenne, T 2013. Engineering the rabbit digestive ecosystem to improve digestive health and efficacy. Animal 7, 14291439.
Dabbou, S, Gasco, L, Gai, F, Zoccarato, I, Rotolo, L, Dabbou, FS, Brugiapaglia, A, Helal, AN and Peiretti, PG 2014. Dried artichoke bracts in rabbits nutrition: effects on the carcass characteristics, meat quality and fatty-acid composition. Animal 8, 15471553.
Dalle Zotte, A, Sartori, A, Bohatir, P, Rémignon, H and Ricci, R 2013. Effect of dietary supplementation of Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) and Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) on growth performance, apparent digestibility and health status of companion dwarf rabbits. Livestock Science 152, 182191.
European Economic Community 1972. Analytical determination of starch. Official Journal of European Communities 123, 7.
Falcão-e-Cunha, L, Castro-Solla, L, Maertens, L, Marounek, M, Pinheiro, V, Freire, J and Mourão, JL 2007. Alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters in rabbit feeding: a review. World Rabbit Science 15, 127140.
Gai, F, Gasco, L, Liu, HW, Lussiana, C, Brugiapaglia, A, Masoero, G and Zoccarato, I 2009. Effect of diet chestnut tannin supplementation on meat quality, fatty acid profile and lipid stability in broiler rabbit. Italian Journal of Animal Science 8, 787789.
Gai, F, Gasco, L, Schiavone, A and Zoccarato, I 2010. Nutritional effects of chestnut tannins in poultry and rabbit. In Tannins: types, foods containing, and nutrition (ed. GK Petridis), pp. 297306. Nova Science Publishers Inc., Hauppauge, NY, USA.
García, AI, de Blas, JC and Carabano, R 2005. Comparison of different methods for nitrogen and amino acid evaluation in rabbit diets. Animal Science 80, 169178.
Gidenne, T, Combes, S, Feugier, A, Jehl, N, Arveux, P, Boisot, P, Briens, C, Corrent, E, Fortune, H, Montessuy, S and Verdelhan, S 2009. Feed restriction strategy in the growing rabbit. 2. Impact on digestive health, growth and carcass characteristics. Animal 3, 509515.
Humadi, SS and Istudor, V 2009. Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife). Medicinal use, extraction and identification of its total phenolic compounds. Farmácia 57, 192200.
SPSS, IBM 2012. IBM SPSS statistics 20.0. SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA.
Krieg, R, Vahjen, W, Awad, W, Sysel, M, Kroeger, S, Zocher, E, Hulan, HW, Arndt, G and Zentek, J 2009. Performance, digestive disorders and the intestinal microbiota in weaning rabbits are affected by a herbal feed additive. World Rabbit Science 17, 8795.
Lahouar, L, El Arem, A, Ghrairi, F, Chahdoura, H, Ben Salem, H, El Felah, M and Achour, L 2014. Phytochemical content and antioxidant properties of diverse varieties of whole barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) grown in Tunisia. Food Chemistry 145, 578583.
Liu, H, Zhou, D, Tong, J and Vaddella, V 2012. Influence of chestnut tannins on welfare, carcass characteristics, meat quality, and lipid oxidation in rabbits under high ambient temperature. Meat Science 90, 164169.
Liu, HW, Gai, F, Gasco, L, Brugiapaglia, A, Lussiana, C, Guo, KJ, Tong, JM and Zoccarato, I 2009. Effects of chestnut tannins on carcass characteristics, meat quality, lipid oxidation and fatty acid composition of rabbits. Meat Science 83, 678683.
Maertens, L and Struklec, M 2006. Technical note: preliminary results with a tannin extract on the performance and mortality of growing rabbits in an enteropathy infected environment. World Rabbit Science 14, 189192.
Mikel, UV 1994. Advanced laboratory methods in histology and pathology. Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, American Registry of Pathology, Washington, DC, USA.
Muyzer, G, De Waal, EC and Uitterlinden, AG 1993. Profiling of complex microbial populations by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis of polymerase chain reaction amplified genes coding for 16S rRNA. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 59, 695700.
Peeters, JE, Maertens, L, Orsenigo, R and Colin, M 1995. Influence of dietary beet pulp on caecal VFA, experimental colibacillosis and iota-enterotoxaemia in rabbits. Animal Feed Science and Technology 51, 123139.
Perez, JM, Lebas, F, Gidenne, T, Maertens, L, Xiccato, G, Parigi-Bini, R, Dalle Zotte, A, Cossu, ME, Carazzolo, A, Villamide, MJ, Carabaño, R, Fraga, MJ, Ramos, MA, Cervera, C, Blas, E, Fernandez, J, Falcão-e-Cunha, L and Bengala Freire, J 1995. European reference method for in vivo determination of diet digestibility in rabbits. World Rabbit Science 3, 4143.
Phillips, I 2007. Withdrawal of growth-promoting antibiotics in Europe and its effects in relation to human health. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents 30, 101107.
Rotolo, L, Gai, F, Nicola, S, Zoccarato, I, Brugiapaglia, A and Gasco, L 2013. Dietary supplementation of oregano and sage dried leaves on performances and meat quality of rabbits. Journal of Integrative Agriculture 11, 19371945.
Rotolo, L, Gai, F, Peiretti, PG, Ortoffi, M, Zoccarato, I and Gasco, L 2014. Live yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae var. boulardii) supplementation in fattening rabbit diet: effect on productive performance and meat quality. Livestock Science 162, 178184.
Schiavone, A, Guo, K, Tassone, S, Gasco, L, Hernandez, E, Denti, R and Zoccarato, I 2008. Effects of a natural extract of chestnut wood on digestibility, performance traits, and nitrogen balance of broiler chicks. Poultry Science 87, 521527.
Simonová, MP, Chrastinová, L, Mojto, J, Lauková, A, Szabóová, R and Rafay, J 2010. Quality of rabbit meat and phyto-additives. Czech Journal of Food Sciences 28, 161167.
Soultos, N, Tzikas, Z, Christaki, E, Papageorgiou, K and Steris, V 2009. The effect of dietary oregano essential oil on microbial growth of rabbit carcasses during refrigerated storage. Meat Science 81, 474478.
Szabóová, R, Lauková, A, Chrastinová, L, Strompfová, V, Simonová, MP, Plachá, I, Vasilková, Z, Chrenková, M and Faix, S 2012. Beneficial effect of plant extracts in rabbit husbandry. Acta Veterinaria Brno 81, 245250.
Tunalier, Z, Kosar, M, Kupeli, E, Calis, I and Baser, KHC 2007. Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-nociceptive activities and composition of Lythrum salicaria L. extracts. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 110, 539547.
Van Soest, PJ, Robertson, JB and Lewis, BA 1991. Methods for dietary fibre, neutral detergent fibre, and nonstarch polysaccharides in relation to animal nutrition. Journal of Dairy Science 74, 35833597.
Vauterin, L and Vauterin, P 1992. Computer-aided objective comparison of electrophoretic patterns for grouping and identification of microorganisms. European Microbiology 1, 3741.
Witte, VC, Krause, GF and Bailey, ME 1970. A new extraction method for determining 2- thiobarbituric acid values of pork and beef during storage. Journal of Food Science 35, 582585.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO
Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Kovitvadhi supplementary material
Table S1

 Word (49 KB)
49 KB

Effect of purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) diet supplementation in rabbit nutrition on performance, digestibility, health and meat quality

  • A. Kovitvadhi (a1), L. Gasco (a1) (a2), I. Ferrocino (a1), L. Rotolo (a1), S. Dabbou (a1), V. Malfatto (a1), F. Gai (a2), P. G. Peiretti (a2), M. Falzone (a3), C. Vignolini (a3), L. Cocolin (a1) and I. Zoccarato (a1)...


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.