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Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and its essential oil: antimicrobial, antioxidant and acaricidal effects in poultry production

  • N. PUVAČA (a1), I. ČABARKAPA (a2), A. PETROVIĆ (a3), V. BURSIĆ (a3), R. PRODANOVIĆ (a1), D. SOLEŠA (a1) and J. LEVIĆ (a2)...

Abstract

The aim of this review paper is to review the data on tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) as an antimicrobial, antioxidant and acaricidal in poultry production. Tea tree exhibits a wide spectrum of antimicrobial activities with minimal inhibitory concentrations between 0.12 and 4 mg/ml. Its modes of action against Gram-negative bacterium Escherichia coli (0.12 to 1.5 mg/ml), Gram-positive bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (0.12 to 1 mg/ml), Aspergillus fumigatus (1.78 mg/ml) and yeast, Candida albicans (0.05 to 0.5 mg/ml) have been investigated using a range of different methods. As an antimicrobial, tea tree has high antifungal, bacteriostatic and germicidal activity (e.g. a decrease of 73.8% in Candida sp.), because of its components such as terpinen-4-ol, α-terpineol, linalool, α-pinene, β-pinene, β-myrcene and 1,8-cineole. Its bioactive compounds such as α-terpinene, α-terpinolene and γ-terpinene show high antioxidant activity when applied in concentrations of 100 and 200 µl/ml, while its essential oils demonstrated free radical scavenging activity of 60 to 80%. Tea trees insecticidal and acaricidal properties have been tested for tick control. The mortality of ticks (Ixodes ricinus) and poultry red mites (Dermanyssus gallinae) have been recorded at levels over 60% and 80%, respectively, when used in concentrations of 0.15 to 0.30 mg/cm2 during in vitro testing, and in vivo, when sprayed in poultry houses. When tea tree was used in a form of essential oils as a dietary supplement in concentrations of 50 to 150 mg/kg in broiler chicken diets, a significant increase in daily weight (by around 7%) and decrease in morbidity and mortality were seen. Additionally, when applied in laying hen nutrition, a significant increase in daily egg production has been recorded. Tea tree essential oils when supplemented in poultry diets have high positive effects regarding productivity performance, but this requires further field experiments to clarify standardisation of the material and effective inclusion levels.

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Corresponding author

Corresponding author: petra@polj.uns.ac.rs

References

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World's Poultry Science Journal
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