Natural plant extract in animal Feed: Garlic
The new millennium has ushered in a re-evaluation of the way we feed and manage livestock. The end of the 20th century saw great advances in several areas in the animal production industry, but had serious consequences on consumer confidence. In Europe, the growing unwillingness to rely upon standard solutions involving antibiotic or antimicrobial agents has given rise to several alternative strategies, such as that based on natural plant extracts and their intrinsic active principles.
Although a wide range of herbs spices and oils are available for inclusion in animal feeds, one that is receiving a great deal of attention is garlic. Garlic (Allium sativum L.) has been widely used as a foodstuff since antiquity and has acquired a reputation in the folklore of many cultures as a therapeutic agent. It has been known as an herbal remedy to prevent and treat a variety of heart diseases and metabolic diseases, such as atherosclerosis, thrombosis, hypertension, dementia, cancer, and diabetes. Garlic (Allium sativum) has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. In addition garlic has been shown to increase feed palatability and thus feed intake.
Many studies indicate that allicin which is a sulphur compounds is the potentially active component of garlic. These compounds provide garlic its organoleptic characteristic as well as most of its biological properties and have been identified as having the hypocholesterolemic effect in laying hens and quails; broilers and rabbits. It can reduce the levels of serum cholesterol, triglyceride and LDL. In terms of the mechanism of action, it reduces cholesterol synthesis, inhibits fatty acid synthesis and platelet aggregation and prevents thrombosis.
Garlic is very rich in aromatic oils, which enhance digestion and positively influenced respiratory system being inhaled into air sac and lungs of birds. Also it was found that garlic has a strong antioxidative effect. Garlic juice supplementation improved layers performance in terms of egg weight and mass with numerical increase in egg production in layer hens and in a recent work in garlic powder supplementation improved feed consumption, feed efficiency and egg production in laying quails. In a recent work clearly demonstrates that garlic powder has potential benefits as a feed additive in reducing plasma and egg cholesterol in laying quails. Other studies showed that garlic may promote growth and feed utilisation in post weaned piglets.
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