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Essential oils as alternatives to chemical feed additives for maximizing livestock production

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MZ AKRAM, MU ASGHAR, H JALAL
MZ AKRAM, MU ASGHAR, H JALAL

Abstract


This review is aimed at providing basic and current knowledge about possible mechanisms and nutritional applications of essential oils (EOs) for food animals. Public concern on the excessive use of antibiotics in livestock production has started extensive research to find safe and efficient options. EOs extracted from aromatic plants are known to have a range of biologically active properties that can be applied to modern animal production. Primarily, EOs possess anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and digestion enhancing effects as they improve digestive enzymes, improve feed conversion ratio, modulate ruminal fermentation, add antioxidant properties, and underpin animal immunity. The dietary supplementation of EOs demonstrated as a simple and proficient approach to enhance the performance of livestock. However, mechanisms involved in enhancing animal performance, modulating ruminal fermentation, and microflora are still unclear. Moreover, limited information is available regarding interactions among feed, EOs, and gut ecosystem of animals. EOs could be used as nutraceuticals with possible commercial applications in modern animal nutrition such as antimicrobials, antioxidants, growth promoters, and immunomodulators, alternatives to chemical feed additives. This knowledge encourages further investigations about EOs to realize their full potential and build up their standard use in livestock production.


Keywords


Essential oils; poultry; ruminants; antibiotic resistance; pigs

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References


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