Chapter 12

Beneficial Impacts of Essential Oils on Poultry Health and Production

Mohamed E. Abd El-Hack, Mohamed T. El-saadony, Nahed Yehia, Asmaa F. Khafaga, Mayada R. Farag and Mahmoud Alagawany

Abstract

With the rapid growth of the poultry sector, a major human health concern is noticed relating to the excessive and uncontrolled abuse of antibiotics, which leads to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antibiotics are used in sub-therapeutic doses as antimicrobial agents for rapid growth performance in poultry and for prevention of diseases. For this reason, there is a need to develop alternatives to antibiotics. The beneficial effects of plants and plant extracts that have traditional use are evaluated in many studies. The most common beneficial effects of these plants and their extracts are stimulating endogenous digestive enzymes and antioxidants. Essential oils (EOs) have a wide variety of effects, including antimicrobial, antioxidants, and digestive stimulant activities. Essential oils have been demonstrated to positively affect growth performance, gut health, and meat quality, but the responses are inconsistent. The inconsistencies have been related to the species/subspecies of the plant, harvest time, geographical location, and plant part used that can affect the EOs structure. The oils undergo a patented micro fusion process that creates a surface area of oil droplets that is 20 times greater than other commercially available oilsthus increasing the stability and effectiveness of the oils. The EOs exhibit high antioxidant activity, which is attributed to its two main phenols, carvacrol, and thymol. Conclusively, essential oils can be used in poultry nutrition, but still need more studies, especially metabolism, and the optimum dose in various poultry species.

Total Pages: 201-224 (24)

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