Skip to main content Accessibility help

Nutritional impacts of dietary oregano and Enviva essential oils on the performance, gut microbiota and blood biochemicals of growing ducks

  • K. Abouelezz (a1) (a2), M. Abou-Hadied (a1) (a3), J. Yuan (a1), A. A. Elokil (a4), G. Wang (a1), S. Wang (a1), J. Wang (a1) and G. Bian (a1) (a5)...


Nowadays, there is much legislation in the world devoted to restrict the use of synthetic antibiotics in the poultry industry, which could reduce performance rate and production profits. Various phyto-biotic growth promoters have been proposed to serve as antibiotic alternatives with emphasis on plant extracts and essential oils. This study was conducted to assess the impacts of using the oregano essential oil (OEO) (comprised of 5% thymol and 65% carvacrol) and Enviva essential oil (EEO) (4.5% cinnamaldehyde and 13.5% thymol) as phytobiotic feed additives (PFA) on growth performance, cecal microbiota and serum biochemicals of growing ducks. In total, 800 11-day-old ducklings, housed in 20 floor pens, were allotted randomly into five dietary treatments: (i) A basal diet (BD) (control), (ii.) BD+50 mg EEO/kg, (iii.) BD+100 mg EEO/kg, (iv.) BD+150 mg OEO/kg and (v.) BD+300 mg OEO/kg diet. The growth performance traits were studied between 11 and 42 days of age. At the experiment end, 40 ducks were slaughtered (eight/ treatment) and cecal digesta and blood samples were collected to estimate the cecal bacterial populations and serum blood biochemicals. The results indicated that the tested levels of OEO and EEO did not display any significant effect (P>0.05) on the duck’s final BW, BW gain, growth rate, feed intake, feed conversion ratio or survivability rate. Besides, the different levels of EEO and OEO decreased the cecal populations of Coliforms (P<0.01), total aerobes (P<0.01) and lactose-negative Enterobacteria (P<0.05) in comparison with those of the control group. Finally, the tested EEO and OEO levels did not show any significant effect on the serum variables; in terms of total protein, albumin, globulin, total cholesterol, triglycerides, alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase. In conclusion, the antimicrobial effect of the OEO and EEO against the cecal microbiota has been proven, while they did not display significant effects on the growth performance or blood variables of growing ducks.


Corresponding author


Hide All
Alp, M, Midilli, M, Kocabağlı, N, Yılmaz, H, Turan, N, Gargılı, A and Acar, N 2012. The effects of dietary oregano essential oil on live performance, carcass yield, serum immunoglobulin G level, and oocyst count in broilers. Journal of Applied Poultry Research 21, 630636.
Amroz, D, Wertelecki, TW, Houszka, M and Kamel, C 2006. Influence of diet type on the inclusion of plant origin active substances on morphological and histochemical characteristics of the stomach and jejunum walls in chicken. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 90, 255268.
Bolukbasi, SC, Erhan, MK and Ozkan, A 2006. Effect of dietary thyme oil and vitamin on growth, lipid oxidation, meat fatty acid composition and serum lipoproteins of broilers. South African Journal of Animal Science 36, 189196.
Bozkurt, M, Küçükyilmaz, K, Çatli, AU, Çinar, M, Çabuk, M and Alçiçek, A 2012. Effects of administering an essential oil mixture and an organic acid blend separately and combined to diets on broiler performance. Arch Geflügelk 76, 8187.
Brenes, A and Roura, E 2010. Essential oils in poultry nutrition: main effects and modes of action. Animal Feed Science and Technology 158, 114.
Cho, JH, Kim, HJ and Kim, IH 2014. Effects of phytogenic feed additive on growth performance, digestibility, blood metabolites, intestinal microbiota, meat color and relative organ weight after oral challenge with Clostridium perfringens in broilers. Livestock Science 160, 8288.
Cross, DE, Mcdevith, RM, Hillman, K and Agamovic, T 2007. The effect of herbs and their associated essential oils on performance, digestibilities and gut microflora in chickens 7 to 28d of age. British Poultry Science 4, 496506.
Daferera, DJ, Ziogas, BN and Polissiou, MG 2003. The effectiveness of plant essential oils on the growth of Botrytis cinerea, Fusarium sp., and Clavibacter michiganensis sub sp. Michiganensis. Crop Protection 22, 3944.
Giannenas, I, Bonos, E, Christaki, E and Florou-Paneri, P 2013. Essential oils and their applications in animal nutrition. Medicinal and Aromatic Plants 2, 112.
Gulec, AK, Danabas, D, Ural, M, Seker, E, Arslan, A and Serdar, O 2013. Effect of mixed use of thyme and fennel oils on biochemical properties and electrolytes in rainbow trout as a response to Yersinia ruckeri infection. Acta Veterinaria Brno 82, 297302.
Hernández, FJ, Madrid, V, García, J and Megías, MD 2004. Influence of two plant extracts on broilers’ performance, digestibility, and digestive organ size. Poultry Science 83, 169174.
Jamroz, D, Orda, J, Kamel, C, Wiliczkiewicz, A, Wertelecki, T and Skorupinska, J 2003. The influence of phytogenic extracts on performance, nutrient digestibility, carcass characteristics, and gut microbial status in broiler chickens. Journal of Animal and Feed Sciences 12, 583596.
Jang, IS, Ko, YH, Kang, SY and Lee, CY 2007. Effect of a commercial essential oil on growth performance, digestive enzyme activity and intestinal microflora population in broiler chickens. Animal Feed Science and Technology 134, 304315.
Jugl-Chizzola, M, Spergser, J, Schilcher, F, Novak, J, Bucher, A, Gabler, C, Hagmuller, W and Zitterl-Eglseer, K 2005. Effects of Thymus vulgaris L. as feed additive in piglets and against haemolytic E. coli in vitro. Berliner und Munchener Tierarztliche Wochenschrift 118, 495501.
Kapelański, W, Grajewska, S, Bocian, M, Dybala, J, Jankowiak, H and Wiśniewska, J 2004. Changes in blood biochemical indicators during fattening of the highlean pigs. Animal Science Papers and Reports 22, 443449.
Kirkpinar, F, Ünlü, HB and Özdemir, G 2011. Effects of oregano and garlic essential oils on performance, carcase, organ and blood characteristics and intestinal microflora of broilers. Livestock Science 137, 219225.
Koscova, JR, Nemcova, S, Gancarcikova, Z, Jonecova, L, Scirankova, AB and Buleca, V 2006. Effect of two plant extracts and Lactobacillus fermentum on colonization of gastrointestinal tract by Salmonella enteric var. Dusseldorf in chicks. Biologia 61, 775778.
Kroismayr, A, Sehm, J, Pfaffl, M, Plitzner, C, Foissy, H, Ettle, T, Mayer, H, Schreiner, M and Windisch, W 2008. Effects of essential oils or Avilamycin on gut microbiology and blood parameters of weaned piglets. Czech Journal of Animal Science 53, 377387.
Lee, KW, Everts, H, Kappert, HJ, Frehner, M, Losa, R and Beynen, AC 2003a. Effects of dietary essential oil components on growth performance, digestive enzymes and lipid metabolism in female broiler chickens. British Poultry Science 44, 450457.
Lee, KW, Everts, H, Kappert, HJ, Yeom, KH and Beynen, AC 2003b. Dietary carvacrol lowers body weight gain but improves feed conversion in female broiler chickens. Journal of Applied Poultry Research 12, 394399.
Li, SY, Ru, YJ, Liu, M, Xu, B, Péron, A and Shi, XG 2012. The effect of essential oils on performance, immunity and gut microbial population in weaner pigs. Livestock Science 145, 119123.
Lippens, M, Huyghebaert, G and Cerchiari, E 2005. Effect of the use of coated plant extracts and organic acids as alternatives for antimicrobial growth promoters on the performance of broiler chickens. Arch Geflügelk 69, 261266.
Muhl, A and Liebert, F 2007. Growth and parameters of microflora in intestinal and faecal samples of piglets due to application of a phytogenic feed additive. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition 91, 411418.
Muthusamy, N and Sankar, V 2015. Phytogenic compounds used as feed additives in poultry production. International Journal of Science, Environment and Technology 4, 167171.
Pirgozliev, V, Mansbridge, SC, Rose, SP, Mackenzie, AM, Beccaccia, A, Karadas, F, Ivanova, SG, Staykova, GP, Oluwatosin, OO and Bravo, D 2018. Dietary essential oils improve feed efficiency and hepatic antioxidant content of broiler chickens. Animal 13, 502508.
Russo, M, Galletti, GC, Bocchini, P and Carnacini, A 1998. Essential oil chemical conposition of wild populations of Italian Oregano spice (Origanum vulgare ssp. hirtum (link) lestwaart). Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemestry 46, 37413746.
Skoufos, I, Giannenas, I, Tontis, D, Bartzanas, T, Kittas, C, Panagakis, P and Tzora, A 2016. Effects of oregano essential oil and attapulgite on growth performance, intestinal microbiota and morphometry in broilers. South African Journal of Animal Science 46, 7788.
Tang, Y and Chen, Y 2015. The progress of application of oregano oil in the production of pigs and chickens. Hunan Feed 2, 2931.
Yitbarek, MB 2015. Phytogenics as feed additives in poultry production: a review. International Journal of Extensive Research 3, 4960.
Zeng, Z, Zhang, S, Wang, H and Piao, X 2015. Essential oil and aromatic plants as feed additives in non-ruminant nutrition: a review. Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology 6, 7.



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed