Use of rosemary, oregano, and a commercial blend of essential oils in broiler chickens: in vitro antimicrobial activities and effects on growth performance

Mathlouthi N, Bouzaienne T, Oueslati I, Recoquillay F, Hamdi M, Urdaci M, Bergaoui R
Journal of Animal Science, 2012


The present study was conducted to characterize the in vitro antimicrobial activities of 3 essential oils [oregano, rosemary, and a commercial blend ofessential oils (BEO)] against pathogenic and nonpathogenic bacteria and to evaluate their effects on broiler chicken performances. The chemical composition of the essential oils was determined using the gas chromatography interfaced with a mass spectroscopy. The disc diffusion method, the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC), and the minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) were applied for the determination of antimicrobial activities of essential oils. In vivo study, a total of seven hundred fifty 1-d-old male broiler chickens were assigned to 6 dietary treatment groups: basal diet (control; CON), CON + 44 mg of avilamycin/kg (A), CON + 100 mg of rosemary essential oil/kg (ROS), CON + 100 mg of oregano essential oil/kg (OR), CON + 50 mg of rosemary and 50 mg of oregano essential oils/kg (RO), and CON + 1,000 mg of BEO/kg (essential oil mixture, EOM). The essential oils isolated from rosemary and oregano were characterized by their greater content of 1,8-cineole (49.99%) and carvacrol (69.55%), respectively. The BEO was mainly represented by the aldehyde (cinnamaldehyde) and the monoterpene (1,8-cineole) chemical groups. The results of the disc diffusion method indicated that the rosemary essential oil had antibacterial activity (P ≤ 0.05) against only 3 pathogenic bacteria, Escherichia coli (8 mm), Salmonella indiana (11 mm), and Listeria innocua (9 mm). The essential oil of oregano had antimicrobial activities (P ≤ 0.05) on the same bacteria as rosemary but also on Staphylococcus aureus (22 mm) and Bacillus subtilis (12 mm). Oregano essential oil had greater (P ≤ 0.05) antimicrobial activities against pathogenic bacteria than rosemary essential oil but they had no synergism between them. The BEO showed an increased antimicrobial activity (P ≤ 0.05) against all studied bacteria (pathogenic and nonpathogenic bacteria) except for Lactobacillus rhamnosus. The supplementation of the basal diet with avilamycin or essential oils improved (P ≤ 0.05) broiler chicken BW, BW gain, and G:F compared with the CON diet. There were no differences in growth performances among birds fed A, ROS, OR, RO, or EOM diets. In general, essential oils contained in rosemary, oregano, and BEO can substitute for growth promoter antibiotics. Although the 3 essential oils had different antimicrobial activities, they exhibited the same efficiency in broiler chickens.


Mathlouthi N, Bouzaienne T, Oueslati I, Et Al. Use of rosemary, oregano, and a commercial blend of essential oils in broiler chickens: in vitro antimicrobial activities and effects on growth performance. J Anim Sci. 2012;90(3):813-823.

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