Phytogenics as an Alternative to Antibiotics: Chemical Mechanism behind Antimicrobial Activity of Essential Oils.
Since the 1950s, antibiotics have been the “silver bullet” for the treatment of diseases in both the medical and livestock industries. The use of subtherapeutic antibiotics in broilers not only prevents disease outbreaks but also increases meat yield and feed conversion. The mode of action for the added growth promoter effects of antibiotics stems from their ability to control microbial populations in the gut, decreasing toxic microbial byproducts and limiting competition for nutrients in the gastrointestinal tract. These growth promoting effects have made antibiotics a
common feed additive in the poultry industry. However, decades of exposing microorganisms to low doses of antibiotics has created a selection pressure for antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
In a 2017 study in Ghana, over sixty percent of Staphylococci isolates from poultry farms and farm workers were resistant to multiple antibiotics, including tetracycline, one of the most common antibiotics in the poultry industry. The European Union banned the use of food animal growth-promoting antibiotics in 1986. In the USA, the guidelines for industry issued by the Center for Veterinary Medicines of the Food and Drug Administration recommend use of antibiotics only for the prevention, control and treatment of infections in animals but not for the promotion of growth, increased performance, and improved feed efficiency.
Alternatives to antibiotics are, therefore, needed in order to continue the efficiency and sustainability of the poultry production. A promising alternative is phytogenic essential oil. In this editorial, we will review how the structure of phytochemicals within essential oils contributes to the antimicrobial activity and growth promotion in broilers.
Adv Food Technol Nutr Sci Open J. 2018; 4(2): e1-e3. doi: 10.17140/AFTNSOJ-4-e012