Botanical Warfare


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Since the European Union’s (EU) ban on the use of Antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) in animal feed in 2006, the need to find novel strategies to maintain and improve poultry gut health has become ever-important.

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Botanical Warfare

  1. 1. Digital Re-print - May | June 2014 Botanical Warfare Grain & Feed MillingTechnology is published six times a year by Perendale Publishers Ltd of the United Kingdom. All data is published in good faith, based on information received, and while every care is taken to prevent inaccuracies, the publishers accept no liability for any errors or omissions or for the consequences of action taken on the basis of information published. ©Copyright 2014 Perendale Publishers Ltd.All rights reserved.No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior permission of the copyright owner. Printed by Perendale Publishers Ltd. ISSN: 1466-3872
  2. 2. S ince the European Union’s (EU) ban on the use of Antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) in animal feed in 2006, the need to find novel strategies to maintain and improve poultry gut health has become ever-important. This is because over the years, use of AGPs has managed to control a range of pathogens that can cause poultry intestinal disease. These diseases, which include Coccidiosis and Necrotic Enteritis (NE), can significantly affect the health and performance of birds and result in severe economic losses in the industry. Since the ban on AGPs in feed, these diseases have become increasingly commonplace. Components contained in essential oils such as Carvacrol and Thymol found in Oregano oil offer an alternative and natural solution in the war against poultry gut health diseases. Cell invaders Coccidiosis is caused by a protozoan parasite known as Eimeria that invades the cells of the poultry intestine. Several species of coc- cidia are known to affect poultry and they include Eimeria tenella, E. acervulina, E. necatrix, E. maxima and E. brunette. Each species is known to cause a separate disease, exhibiting a characteristic degree of pathogenicity. Coccidia also have a genetically-fixed self-limiting lifecycle, thus the severity of each coccidiosis is positively correlated with the number of infected oocysts ingested. Coccidia oocysts are practically ubiqui- tous in the poultry environment and even new houses where poultry have not been kept previously will quickly become contami- nated (Reid, 1989; Williams 2005). Necrotic Enteritis (NE), on the other hand, is associated with the gram posi- tive, spore-forming anaerobic bacteria Clostridium perfringens. This bacterium is also common to the poultry environment and forms part of the normal gut microbiota in poultry and other species. There are five major strains of C. perfringens labelled A to E and classified on the basis of the toxins the organism produces. Type A is the strain that is most commonly found in the gastrointes- tinal tract and associated with NE manifesta- tion. Furthermore, NE is often associated with prior infection of coccidiosis. Both diseases can manifest themselves in two forms: acute clinical characterised by sudden increase in flock mortality with no prior warning symptoms or the sub-clinical form which is milder but usually does not have any peak mortality. With the subclinical form, production losses ensue due to decreased digestion and absorption, reduced growth rate and increased FCR resulting from intestinal damage. It is for this reason the sub-clinical form is considered to result in the greatest economic losses and therefore more important as it can persist in broiler flocks undetected with birds and remain untreated for a long period of time (Dahiya et al 2006). History of disease treatment First attempts at treating coccidiosis date back to an outbreak in poultry 70 years ago, using sulphonamides. Through further experi- mentation, poultry producers in the United States found in the late 1940s that the most economic method of treating the disease was via continuous usage of sulphaquinoxalines in the feed. This not only reduced mortality but also lessened morbidity of the disease in poultry. Since the 1950s, various types of anticoccidials have been produced from different drugs and chemicals. Some of the older chemicals such as amprolium and nicarbazine are still being used today. Most are no longer in use or allowed in various countries, due to proven toxicological findings or a lack of efficacy due to the development of resistance by the coccidia. In the 1970s a new class of antibiotics was discovered. These were named the ionophores and eventually replaced the earlier chemical compounds. Ionophores are unique, because they permit a small amount of coccidian to survive and complete their life cycle within the intestines of the bird, enabling the bird to develop a certain level of immunity. This allows a greater degree of protection against the parasite and is a very efficient method of control. However, these more recent developments were still not able to address the issue of resistance and soon enough, most species of coccidian had developed resistance to all the ionophores available in the industry. Conversely treatment of NE has a much shorter history as even as recently as 1997 it did not merit special attention in an interna- tional poultry disease directory (van der Sluis, 1997). It was at the beginning of the 21st Century it emerged as a worldwide problem. A survey in 2001 indicated that 31 percent of broiler flocks in the UK suffered from NE (Hermans and Morgan, 2003). The reason for this is because NE in poultry has long been controlled incidentally by some in-feed AGP’s including virginiamycin and bacitracin (Johansson et al., 2004). Some in-feed ionophorous anticoccidial drugs also possess activity against Gram positive bacteria such as Clostridium perfringens (Watkins et al 1997). Withdrawals and reductions in the use of in-feed AGPs have contributed to the growing incidence of this disease. The battle against coccidiosis and NE An outbreak of coccidiosis and/or NE in a poultry flock has a very negative economic impact for the poultry producer. There is an immediate and considerable drop in production figures as well as the recovery and re-establishment period after treatment being slow. Some flocks never fully recover or regain their full production potential. NE carries further risk as the causative agent, Clostridium per- fringens, poses a significant threat to public health too. Hence, it is a well-recognised fact that treatment alone cannot prevent the eco- Bot Figure 1: The effect of oregano oil on sporozoite-infected enterocytes within the lumen (Do you have a version of this without reference to Orego-stim or it is easy to change to just oregano oil based product or something?) The natural alternative to prevent Coccidiosis and Necrotic Enteritis anical Warfareby Meriden Animal Health 20 | May - June 2014 GRAIN&FEED MILLING TECHNOLOGYF
  3. 3. nomic losses. It is well-established within the poultry sector that the only choice is therefore prevention of the disease. However, an effective and sustainable prevention and control programme against the disease is not easy. Coccidiosis is particularly difficult to combat because several different species of Eimeria exist in the field. Poultry may become infected with different species because the immunity that develops after infection is specific only to one species. Eimeria has a very complex life cycle that involves many developmental stages within the host cells. Each Eimeria type is able to infect only one host species and they each attack different segments of the intestine in their host. The disease carries losses for the producer in the form of mor- talities, reduced market value of the affected birds and sometimes culling or delayed slaughter time. Another predisposing factor is the confined host-rearing conditions, which lead to an increase in the numbers of oocysts, which are ingested by poultry via the litter. These lead to destruction of the integrity of the intestinal mucosae and interfere with nutrient absorption, ultimately causing diarrhoea, which in turn causes high medication costs. Ultimately, all these setbacks lead to huge losses for the producer. Another factor is the increasing incidence of drug resistance to field strains of coccidia. The conventional methods to control the disease include using certain coccidiostats or coccidiocidal drugs. Producers are adding a number of anticoccidial drugs to commer- cial feed to control the recurring coccidial challenge. In the case of salinomycin, it is known that at approximately day 28 of the broiler production period, performance declines in birds receiving the anticoccidial due to the presence of subclinical coccidiosis. Under normal management conditions, this is a typical occurrence when this ionophore is used. To prevent widespread resistance to the narrow range of anticoccidial drugs available in the field, nutritionists and veterinar- ians have resorted to devising and implementing many different forms of complex anticoccidial shuttle and rotational programmes in an attempt to achieve optimal efficacy with minimal side effects. However, the design, implementation and monitoring of such programmes has become extremely complicated and fraught with obstacles and risks. For example, poultry flocks cannot be treated with nicarbazine during early autumn or spring because sudden heat waves can result in high mortality, even in young birds. Albeit still valuable to the industry, ionophores also have its own share of dangers. Detectable residual levels of coccidiostats have been found in commercial broiler meat and table eggs. A relatively common problem that poses devastating conse- quences is the accidental feeding of diets containing coccidiostats to non-target animals. For instance, turkeys fed rations containing salinomycin may encounter an increase in mortality, whereas broiler breeders fed rations containing nicarbazine may be affected by a drop in egg production and infertility. Last but not least, producers need to consider the extra time and money spent by the feed mill for flushing systems of coccidi- ostat residues, the planning and mixing of various different batches of medicated feed and attempts to avoid cross contamination of drug-free withdrawal feed. Residual effects, if ever found in the poultry meat or eggs, may pose a serious problem for producers who wish to export their produce to countries where legislation requires drug and residue-free chicken meat and eggs and where demands for such healthy produce are on the rise. Not only does subclinical infection NE impact on bird perfor- mance but intestinal damage also allows the bacteria to reach the bile duct and portal blood stream. When this occurs the liver can be colonised by high numbers of C. perfringens resulting in cholan- giohepatitis. Often liver lesions are found during meat inspection at slaughter without any sign of clinical disease in the flock, resulting in a large number of condemnations. Prevention and management of NE is further compounded by the multifactorial nature of the disease. A number of predisposing factors have been implicated in the pathogenesis of the disease including nutrition, stress and coccidiosis. These factors contribute to creating an intestinal environment that favours growth of C. perfringens. Diets with high levels of EXCELLENCE IN YEAST – EXCELLENT IN FEED REAL BREWERS‘ YEAST Made in German y •MadeinGermany•M adeinGermany•Made inGermany•MadeinGe rm any • Biolex® MB40 Leiber GmbH Hafenstraße 24 49565 Bramsche Germany Tel.+49 (0)5461 9303-0 Fax +49 (0)5461 9303-29 acts prebiotic for immunity & resistance optimizes digestion processes May - June 2014 | 21GRAIN&FEED MILLING TECHNOLOGY F
  4. 4. indigestible, water-soluble NSP such as wheat and barley are risk factors as well as high dietary concentrations of animal protein. Anything that results in high concentrations of protein in the gastrointestinal tract is a predisposing factor as the protein acts a substrate for the bacteria (Timbermont et al 2011). Any factor that causes stress in the chicken, alters the intestinal environment and could also induce NE. This could include changes in diets such as moving from starter to grower diets and/or stocking density (McDevitt et al 2006). However, it is coccidosis that is the most important predispos- ing factor. Coccidiosis outbreaks often precede outbreaks of NE in the field. It has also been shown that Eimeria oocysts or an overdose of commercial coccidiosis vaccines containing attenu- ated Eimeria strains, act synergistically with C. perfringens (Park et al 2008). Eimeria parasites kill epithelial cells when they colonize the small intestine. This allows plasma proteins to leak into the gut lumen thereby creating a substrate for C. perfringens (Van Immerseel et al 2004). In addition to this, C. perfringens is able to utilize mucus as a substrate and intestinal mucogenesis is increased in an immune response to coccidial infection (Collier et al 2008). Coccidial Vaccinations: A Boon or a Bane? Vaccination is an obvious alternative system to control coccidiosis. Currently, a number of coccidial vaccines have been developed and used commercially. Most coccidial vaccines include a low dose of the live parasite as a key ingredient to stimulate protec- tive immunity. These have been used in millions of chickens. However, the parasite can still cause disease in vaccinated chick- ens if their immune systems are already compromised, damaged or suppressed by other infectious agents. In the field, once birds have been exposed to coccidia, they develop immunity after approximately three cycles of oocyst production. Although live or attenuated parasites have been widely used as a commercial vaccine, antigenic variability between the Eimeria species present in the vaccine and those in the field, restricts the effectiveness of commercial vaccines. There is also a price to be paid for protection against a poten- tial threat. This could be in the form of the high cost of vaccines, time spent administering the vaccines, losses due to vaccine reac- tions in live vaccines and localized tissue damage in killed vaccines. The disadvantages associated with the live vaccines are problems with uniform vaccine application, excessive vaccine reactions, unwanted spread of the vaccinal viruses, extreme handling requirements needed to maintain viability of the vac- cinal organisms and last but not least, the emergence of necrotic enteritis. The relationship between coccidioses and NE is still poorly understood and is therefore a major factor limiting use of anticoccidial vaccine in broilers (Williams 2003). Furthermore, the risk of vaccination failure cannot be totally eliminated . A vaccination failure occurs when, following vaccine administration, the chickens do not develop adequate protection and are susceptible to a field disease outbreak. There are several factors, including high levels of maternal antibodies, environmental extremes, inadequate nutrition, parasitism and other concur- rent diseases that can also contribute towards vaccine failure. Improper handling or administration of the vaccine should also be considered. A new natural weapon: Botanical Warfare! Essential oils from plants have been used by humans for centu- ries for medical purposes so it is no surprise that with the ban on AGP’s in the EU, there has been growing attention to their potential as feed additives. Compared with synthetic antibiotics or inorganic chemicals they are considered natural, less toxic and residue-free (Hashemi et al 2008) and also offer a cost-effective solution. Oregano oil in particular has been identified as a natural alternative in the prevention of coccidosis and NE. Oregano oil contains phenolic components called carvacrol and thymol. These help to reduce mortality caused by gastroin- testinal diseases by preventing the occurrences of gastrointestinal 22 | May - June 2014 GRAIN&FEED MILLING TECHNOLOGYF
  5. 5. pathogen invasion. Aside from offering a solution to coccidiosis and NE, extensive research has demonstrated oregano oil can provide additional performance benefits. Furthermore there is no evidence of any bacterial or coccidian resistance from oregano oil. This is because of the primitive and straightforward mode of action. No withdrawal period is required either so, oregano oil can be used safely right up until the slaughter period. In humans and animals, the upper layer of enterocytes is constant- ly shed and replenished every 4 to 7 days. Oregano oil speeds up this natural renewal process creating an environment that is hostile to the coccidial lifecycle. The sporozoite-infected cells are thus shed before the next developmental stage thereby disrupting the life cycle and preventing coccidiosis. This rapid shedding of the intestinal cells also prevents thickening of the intestines caused by E. coli and other pathogenic bacteria that may be potential secondary invaders. The accelerated rate of epithelial cell turnover results in lesser contamination of the emerging enterocytes and improved absorption capacity for nutrients. Further to this, a number of recent studies have reported that essential oils can have a direct effect on the eimeria oocysts. Remmal et al (2013) tested the in vitro efficacy of eight EO components at killing oocysts and carvacrol, the main constituent in oregano oil, was found to have the greatest efficacy of those tested. Thymol also ranked highly compared to the other components tested. In a trial conducted in the USA by Colardo Quality Research Incorporated, an oregano oil-based product was fed to chicks that had been challenged with coccidiosis oocysts in order to evaluate the ability of the product to protect against a coccidiosis challenge, in comparison to a commonly used ionophore coccidiostat, which was salinomycin. The results indicate that the Oregano-based product gave effective protection against the coccidiosis challenge. The level of protection achieved by the oregano product group was similar to the protection provided by salinomycin at 55gr/tonne. In the same experiment, performance of chicks fed Orego-Stim in the presence of a necrotic enteritis challenge was also evaluated. Oregano oil was compared with Bacitracin Methylene Disalicylate (BMD) in this part of the experiment. Results showed that the oreg- ano product gave effective protection against the necrotic enteritis challenge model. The level of protection achieved by the Oregano product was similar to protection provided by BMD at 27.5gr/tonne. Carvacrol and thymol have both been demonstrated to have anti-microbial activity against C. perfringens as well as other patho- gens including salmonella and e. coli. In vivo studies in broilers have further demonstrated the antimicrobial efficacy of oregano oil against C. perfringens and hence protection against NE (Jamroz et al 2003; Mitsch et al 2004). The mechanism of antimicrobial control is poorly understood but it is believed to be related to the potential of the hydrophobic essential oils to intrude into the bacteria cell, disinte- grate membrane structures and cause ion leakage. Clearly this antimicrobial effect will have beneficial effects on the gut microbiota and health in general, thereby improving perfor- mance. The reduction in immune response has further benefits for performance. However positive effects on nutrient digestibility have also been reported. Halle et al 2004 have reported improved feed efficiency with carvacrol and thymol. Essential oils stimulate digestive secretions; bile, mucus and enzyme activity were also reportedly enhanced (Platel and Srinivasan 2004). Carvacrol and thymol also have significant antioxidant properties (Cuppet and Hall, 1998). Taking all of this into account, botanical warfare through the use of essential oils such as oregano oil, offers a viable alternative for the natural prevention of coccidiosis and NE, as well as supporting poultry gut health. However it is important to note that in the litera- ture, some discrepancies exist in the efficacies of essential oils. This is because they can vary in composition and quality according to the processing they have been subjected to, therefore it is important to use a product which contains high specification oregano oil, with the right balance of carvacrol and thymol with proven efficacy. References Collier, c.T., Hofacre, C.L., Payne, A.M., Anderson, D.B., Kasier, P., Mackie, R.I. and Gaskins, H.R. (2008). Coccidia-induced mucogenesis promotes the onset of necrotic enteritis in chickens. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 122, 104-115. Cuppet, S.L. and Hall, C.A. (1998). Antioxidant activity of Labiatae. Advances in Food Nutrition Reseach 42, 245-271. Dahiya, J.P., Wilkie, D.C., Van Kessel, A.G. and Drew, M.D. (2006). Potential strategies for controlling necrotic enteritis in broiler chickens in post-antibiotic era. Animal Feed Science and Technology 129, 1-2, 60-88. Hashemi, S.R., Zulkifli, I., Hair-Bejo, M., Farida, A. and Somchit, M.N. (2008). Acute toxicity study and phytochemical screening of selected herbal aqueous extract in broiler chickens. International Journal of Pharmacology 4, 352-360. Hermans, P.G. and Morgan, K.L. (2003). The epidemiology of necrotic enteritis in broiler chickens. Research in Veterinary Science 74, supplement A, 19. Jamroz, D., Orda, J., Kamel, C., Wiliczkiewicz, A., Wertelecki, T and Skorupinska, J. (2003). The influence of phytogenetic extracts on performance, nutrient digestibility, carcass characteristics and gut microbial status in broiler chickers. Journal of Animal Feed Science 12, 583-596. Johansson, A., Greko, C., Engström, B.E. and Karlsson, M. (2004). Antimicrobial susceptibility of Swedish, Norwegian and Danish isolates of Clostridium perfringens from poultry and distribution of tetracycline resistant genes. Veterinary Microbiology, 99, 251-257. McDevitt, R.M., Brooker, J.D., Acamovic, T. and Sparks, N.H.C. (2006) Necrotic enteritis: a continuing challenge for the poultry industry. World’s Poultry Science Journal 62, 221-247. Mitsch, P., Zitterl-Eglseer, K., Kohler, B., Gabler, C., Losa, R. and Zimpernik, I. (2004). The effect of two different blends of essential oil components on the proliferation of Clostridium perfringens in the intestines of broiler chickens. Poultry Science 83, 669-675. Park, S.S., Lillehoj, h.S., Allen, P.C., Park, D.W., FitzCoy, S., Baurista, D.A. and Lillehoj, E.P. (2008). Immunopathology and cytokine responses in broiler chickens coinfected with Eimeria maxima and Clostridium perfringens with the use of an animal model of necrotic enteritis. Avian Diseases 52, 34-39. Platel, K. and Srinivasan, K. (2004). Digestive stimulant action of spices: A myth or reality? Indian Journal of Medical Research 119, 167-179. Reid, W.M. (1989). Recommending sanitary practices for coccidiosis control. In P. Yvoré (Ed.), Coccidia and Intestinal Coccidiomorphs (pp 371-376). Paris: INRA. Williams, R.B. (2003). Coccidial and clostridial interactions in broilers vaccinated against coccidiosis. World Poultry, Special Supplement Coccidiosis,4, 26-28. Remmal, A., Achahbar, S., Bouddine, L., Chami, F. and Chami, N. (2013). Oocysticidal effect of essential oil components against chicken eimeria oocysts. International Journal of Veterinary Medicine Article ID 599816, 8 pages DOI: 10.5171/2013.599816 Timbermont, L., Haesebrouck, F., Ducatelle, R., Van Immerseel, F. (2011). Necrotic enteritis in broilers: an updated review on the pathogenesis. Avian Pathology 40, 4, 341-347. Watkins, k.L., Shryock, T.R., Dearth, R.N. and Saif, Y.M. (1997). In-vitro antimicrobial susceptibility of Clostridium perfringens from commercial turkey and broiler chicken origin. Veterinary Microbiology, 54, 195-200. Williams, R.B. (2005). Intercurrent coccidiosis and necrotic enteritis of chickens: rational, integrated disease management by maintenance of gut integrity. Avian Pathology 34, 3, 159-180. Van der Sluis, W. (1997). Poultry diseases around the world. World Poultry, 13, 7, 32-44. Van Immerseel, F., De buck, J., Pasmans, F., Huyghebaert, G., Haesebrouck, F. and Ducatelle, R. (2004). Clostridium perfringens in poultry: an emerging threat of animal and public health. Avian Pathology33, 537-549. Figure 2: Oregano oil based product weight gain (Bar) & Feed conversion (Line) 11-19 days May - June 2014 | 23GRAIN&FEED MILLING TECHNOLOGY F
  6. 6. 24 | May - June 2014 GRAIN&FEED MILLING TECHNOLOGY The 25th Annual IAOM MEA District Conference & Expo will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), Halls 4A & 4B on 3-6 December 2014. Mideast & Africa District Organized by: Management Keynote Speaker Dr. Beau Lotto Neuroscientist & Founder, Lottolab (UK) Mike Krueger Founder & President, The Money Farm (USA) Top Notch Keynote SpeakersConference and Expo Highlights REGISTER NOW Email: or call 0096824711755 Milling Industry’s Largest Gathering in the Middle East & Africa • Largest gathering of flour & feed milling industry machine suppliers, grain millers and commodity traders from the Middle East, Africa and all over the world • Captivating and vibrant keynote speakers for Management, Technical and Trading sessions • Extensive networking opportunities • World renowned keynote speakers include Dr. Beau Lotto, Neuroscientist & Founder Lottolab (UK) and Daniel Basse, President & founder, AgResource Co. (USA) • Evening Functions in Cape Town’s most elite venues • English and Arabic simultaneous translation available • Full access to conference presentations and expo Trading Moderator & Keynote Speaker Daniel Basse President & Founder, AgResource Co. (USA) F
  7. 7. LINKS • See the full issue • Visit the GFMT website • Contact the GFMT Team • Subscribe to GFMT A subscription magazine for the global flour & feed milling industries - first published in 1891 INCORPORATING PORTS, DISTRIBUTION AND FORMULATION In this issue: • Role of extruders in Halal food production • Fortification Fortification in rice and flour • IAOM 118th Annual Conference & Expo May-June2014 • GM soybeans The on-farm facts • Harvest conditions: wheat quality and addressing issues • The Mills Archive GFMT becomes a patron first published in 1891 This digital Re-print is part of the May | June 2014 edition of Grain & Feed Milling Technology magazine. Content from the magazine is available to view free-of-charge, both as a full online magazine on our website, and as an archive of individual features on the docstoc website. Please click here to view our other publications on To purchase a paper copy of the magazine, or to subscribe to the paper edi- tion please contact our Circulation and Subscriptions Manager on the link adove. INFORMATION FOR ADVERTISERS - CLICK HERE Article reprints All Grain & Feed Milling Tecchnology feature articles can be re-printed as a 4 or 8 page booklets (these have been used as point of sale materials, promotional materials for shows and exhibitions etc). If you are interested in getting this article re-printed please contact the GFMT team for more informa- tion on - Tel: +44 1242 267707 - Email: or visit