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Due to the increasing demand for antibiotic-free livestock products from the consumer side and the ban on the use of antibiotic growth promoters, the poultry feed industry is increasingly interested in developing more alternatives to cope with this problem. Organic acids (butyric acid) have many beneficial effects on poultry health, performance, and egg quality when used in their diet, thus they can be considered for the replacement of antibiotics in livestock production systems. Butyric acid is most efficacious against pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella spp. and Escherichia coli, and stimulates the population of beneficial gut bacteria. It is a primary energy source for colonocytes and augments the differentiation and maturation of the intestinal cells. Collectively, butyric acid should be considered as an alternative to antibiotic growth promoters, because it reduces pathogenic bacteria and their toxins, enhancing gut health thereby increasing nutrient digestibility, thus leading to improved growth performance and immunity among birds. The possible pathways and mechanisms through which butyric acid enhances gut health and production performance are discussed in this review. Detailed information about the use of butyric acid in poultry and its possible benefits under different conditions are also provided, and the impacts of butyric acid on egg quality and osteoporosis are noted.
Plant-derived additives are used to maintain the health and growth performance of livestock. The use of red pepper oil (RPO) has recently attracted considerable scientific interest mainly due to its potential benefits for animals and humans. The present study was conducted to evaluate the effect of dietary supplementation with RPO on growth performance, carcass measurements, antioxidant status and immunity of growing quails between 1 and 5 weeks of age. A total of 240 growing quails (1-week old) were distributed into 5 equal groups consisting of 48 birds (4 replicates of 12 birds each). The first group was fed a basal diet without RPO (0 g/kg diet), and the second, third, fourth and fifth groups received diets containing RPO (0.4, 0.8, 1.2, 1.6 g/kg diet, respectively). The experiment lasted for 5 weeks. At age of 5 weeks, quails were slaughtered for carcass examinations, microbiological analysis of intestine and to determine blood constituents. Data were statistically analyzed by one-way ANOVA. Quails fed with 0.8 g RPO/kg diet showed 12.14%, 14.4% and 15% improvement in live BW, body weight gain and feed conversion ratio, respectively, compared with the control group. Quails that received diets with 1.2 g RPO consumed more feed than the others during the total period (1 to 5 weeks). Plasma globulin levels were significantly decreased (P = 0.0102), but albumin/globulin ratio was significantly increased (P = 0.0009) in birds fed diets containing RPO (0.4 and 1.2 g/kg) compared with those in the control group. Activity of liver enzymes in the plasma was nonsignificantly decreased in quails supplemented with 0.8 g RPO/kg diet compared with those in the control group. Activities of antioxidant enzymes (glutathione and catalase) in the group fed on diets supplemented with RPO (0.8 g/kg) were significantly higher than those in the control group. The inclusion of RPO (0.8 g/kg diet) in quail diets improved (P < 0.05) plasma lipid profile and also decreased pH of the caecal content (P = 0.0280) compared with those in the control group. The caecal bacterial population, Salmonella spp., coliform and Escherichia coli, were lowered (P < 0.05) in the groups treated with RPO (0.8, 1.2 and 1.6 g/kg) compared with those in the control group. In conclusion, dietary supplementation of RPO (0.8 g/kg) can enhance the performance and antioxidant indices and decrease intestinal pathogens and thus improve the health status of Japanese quail.
The supplementation of livestock rations with herbs containing bioactive components, such as rosmarinic acid (RA), have shown promising results as a natural feed additive in promoting growth, productive and reproductive performance, feed utilization, fertility, anti-oxidant status and immunologic indices. Furthermore, RA reportedly reduces the risks of various animal diseases and mitigates side effects of chemical and synthetic drugs. RA is a natural polyphenol present in several Lamiaceae herbs like Perilla frutescens, and RA is becoming an integral component of animal nutrition as it counters the effect of reactive oxygen species induced in the body as a consequence of different kinds of stressors. Studies have further ascertained the capability of RA to work as an anti-microbial, immunomodulatory, anti-diabetic, anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, hepato- and renal-protectant agent, as well as to have beneficial effects during skin afflictions. Additionally, RA is favored in meat industries due to enhancing the quality of meat products by reportedly improving shelf-life and imparting desirable flavor. This review describes the beneficial applications and recent findings with RA, including its natural sources, modes of action and various useful applications in safeguarding livestock health as well as important aspects of human health.
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