Feed Enzyme and Essential Oils Improve Broiler Performance, Reduce Salmonella Colonisation

The addition of essential oils and the feed enzyme, xylanase, to a broiler diet improve bird performance and reduced the horizontal transmission of Salmonella infection, according to newly published research from the UK and the US.
calendar icon 1 April 2012
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An experiment published in the current issue of Poultry Science examined the influence of xylanase supplementation and a blend of essential oils (EO; cinnamaldehyde and thymol) on performance and Salmonella horizontal transmission in broiler chickens challenged with Salmonella, according to Ahmed Amerah from Danisco Animal Nutrition in the UK and co-authors at Southern Poultry Research Inc. in Athens, Georgia and the University of Georgia.

The researchers randomly assigned 2,000 day–old broiler chicks to five dietary treatments (eight pens per treatment of 50 male broilers each).

Four dietary treatments were challenged with Salmonella: 1) control, 2) basal diets supplemented with EO, 3) basal diet supplemented with xylanase (2,000 units per kg of feed), and 4) basal diet supplemented with a combination of EO and xylanase (2,000 units per kg of feed). One treatment served as an unchallenged control and was not supplemented with either additive.

Broiler starter and finisher diets, based on wheat and soybean meal, were formulated, pelleted, and fed ad libitum.

On day 1, before placement, half of the birds from each pen were tagged and dosed with Salmonella enterica serovar Heidelberg (5 × 105 colony-forming units, cfu per millilitre). On day 42, five random untagged birds from each pen were killed and their caeca removed and tested for Salmonella.

Performance data were analysed as a completely randomised design using GLM. The frequency of positive Salmonella in the untagged birds was compared between treatments by using a chi–squared test of homogeneity.

Challenging the birds with Salmonella had no effect (P>0.05) on any of the measured performance parameters.

Xylanase and EO supplementation improved (P<0.05) the 42–day bodyweight gain and feed efficiency, with no effect (P>0.05) on feed intake compared with that of the control treatment.

Xylanase supplementation improved (P<0.05) bodyweight gain and feed efficiency compared with the results of EO supplementation.

The combination treatment of xylanase and EO numerically improved bodyweight gain and feed efficiency compared with the xylanase treatment.

Xylanase and EO supplementation reduced (P<0.05) the incidence of horizontal transmission of Salmonella infection between birds by 61 and 77 per cent, respectively, compared with the control.

Amerah and co-authors concluded their results suggest that dietary addition of EO and xylanase could improve broiler performance and contribute to food safety by lowering the incidence of horizontal transmission of Salmonella infection.


Amerah A.M., G. Mathis and C.L. Hofacre. 2012. Effect of xylanase and a blend of essential oils on performance and Salmonella colonization of broiler chickens challenged with Salmonella Heidelberg. Poult. Sci. 91(4):943-947. doi: 10.3382/ps.2011-01922

Further Reading

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April 2012
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