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Animal Health

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Livestock Production
Monday, May 27, 2019 5:20:57 PM
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NBIOTIC: Open possibilities for organic chicken to reach the dining table

Dr. Amit Kumar Pandey, PhD (VPT), Dr Praful Kumar


The use of antibiotic growth promoters (AGP) has been the cornerstone of broiler industry in the effort to enhance growth performance and stabilize animal's health status. Since the 2006 ban of AGP in the European Union, the search for suitable natural alternatives with similar beneficial effects has been intensified. At the moment, there in an increasing pressure to stop the use of antibiotics as growth promoters globally, in order to minimize the emerging problem of microbial resistance. Besides the antibiotics, another class of antimicrobial feed additives that has been used in poultry nutrition, aiming to enhance performance, is arsenic-based products. Arsenic-based drugs have been used in poultry production for decades especially in America and Asia with positive effects, possibly due to synergistic effects of arsenic compounds with ionophore anticoccidials and AGP on controlling coccidian and gram-positive bacteria. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat coccidiosis, a common parasitic disease in poultry, and to enhance feed efficiency, body weight gain, and meat pigmentation approved Roxarsone, an organic arsenic compound (3-nitro-4-hydroxy phenyl arsonic acid) in 1944. It must be noted that in 2010, industry representatives estimated that almost 90% of the broiler chickens raised for human consumption in the United States received roxarsone. Nowadays, the use of roxarsone in animal feeds is banned in Europe and America, but is still in use in many countries, such as Australia, China, Brazil, and India, as an effective growth promoter. The practice of administering roxarsone to poultry is under question due to concerns regarding arsenic exposure in humans or the environment. Arsenic toxicity depends on the animal species, is well documented for inorganic arsenic (arsenite and arsenate), and may cause chronic severe diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cognitive deficits, and adverse pregnancy outcomes or even plant toxicity due to arsenic contamination of soil. Recently, herbal products are being used as feed additives, as they contain phenolic compounds that hold an ability to alleviate oxidative stress and inflammation and show potent in vitro antimicrobial properties. Several studies have indicated that herbal feed additives can strengthen the innate defense mechanisms of chickens in order to effectively reduce or prevent the need for therapy of enteric infections. Active plant compounds, which mainly are phenolics, are a potential effector on microbial communities, and could be, therefore, considered as a natural alternative to AGP in controlling the intestinal microbial population. With regard to the above described issues, the objective of this experiment is to compare for the first time an arsenic-based feed additive, which had been used extensively in America for many decades and are still in use in Asian countries, with a polyherbal feed additive and examine their possible effects on the growth performance and intestinal parameters of broiler chickens, as well as the oxidative stability of chicken meat.

A validation report demonstrating the effects of Nbiotic on the growth performance in the boiler chicken in comparison with an arsenic-based feed additive is presented below. The trials was conducted in Greece by Dr Giannenas Ilias and published in the Journal of Applied Poultry Research in 2018.

Plan of Research:

Effect of Dietary supplement on broiler performance parameters



It is evident from the result that the there is significant increase in the body weight and improvement in the FCR of the birds of Nbiotic treated groups as compare to other groups. 

Effect of dietary supplementation on broiler chicken's on ileum morphology parameters at day 42 of age.

Effect of Dietary supplement on broiler gut micromorphology:


Observation: The ileum morphology was affected by the dietary supplementation of Nbiotic. The ileum VH and VH to CD ratio is significantly higher than Roxarsone treated and control group. VH is important indicator of the digestive function of the chicken, higher VH is indicative of better absorption in the small intestine. The increase in Goblet cells of villi in the Nbiotic treated group indicate its immunity boosting property of the gut.


The estimation of the essential oils content of Nbiotic by gas chromatography revealed that essential oils like β-Phellandrene, dihydrocarvone, camphor, menthol and thymol are present in different concentration. 


Effect of Dietary supplement on antioxidant parameters of stored broiler meat:


The breast meat and thigh meat at both 1st day and 4th day of storage in Nbiotic treated group showed significantly lower MDA values. It was noted that lipid peroxidation significantly increased with the increase in storage time in control and roxarsone treated group.

In the current study, it was found that the polyherbal feed additive (Nbiotic) prevented the development of lipid oxidation of breast and thigh chicken meat during refrigerated storage. Antioxidant compounds from the herbal extracts were possibly ingested by the feed, absorbed in the gastrointestinal transit and protected meat lipids from oxidation as aldehydes formation in both breast and thigh meat samples was lower compared to control and ROX groups. Bioavailability and pharmacological mechanism of action of the herbal phenolic compounds are the underlying factors that determine these antioxidant health benefits of Nbiotic.


Broilers fed with the Nbiotic had an improved bodyweight gain and feed conversion ratio compared to both Control and Roxarsone groups. This validation reports proving the efficacy of Nbiotic in improving body weight and FCR by optimize the gut function for better digestion and absorption of the nutrients. Nbiotic also improves the meat quality due to the antioxidant properties of phenolic content.
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Article made possible through the contribution of Dr. Amit Kumar Pandey, Dr. Praful Kumar and Ayurvet
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