Poultry meat has high contents of polyunsaturated fatty acids that can cause off-flavors, off-odors, and reduce meat quality and shelf life. Replacement of phytogenic feed additives (PFAs) with chemical additives are highly considered, which reduces the potential risk of using poultry meat.
The current study aimed at determining the effects of hydroalcoholic extract of hogweed (Heracleum persicum) and anise (Pimpinella anisum L.) on broiler meat quality, immune responses, and intestinal microflora and morphology.
The current study was conducted on 400 male Ross 308 chickens divided into five treatment groups, based on a completely randomized design with four replicates of 20 broilers. The control group was not fed any feed additives, whereas the other groups received 100 mg/kg of probiotics (Primalac®), 200 mg/kg of hogweed extract, 200 mg/kg of anise extract, and 200 mg/kg of oxytetracycline, respectively. On day 35 of chicken breeding, the immune responses were investigated. At the end of chicken breeding, meat quality was analyzed. Also, the jejunal and ileal contents were investigated in terms of intestinal morphology and microflora.
The findings indicated that the highest immune response belonged to the anise extract treatment. The best meat quality belonged to treatments with hogweed and anise extracts (P < 0.05). Also, the lowest number of harmful intestinal bacteria belonged to hogweed extract treatment (P < 0.05). Morphological characteristics of the intestine improved under the effects of hogweed and anise extract treatments (P < 0.05).
Therefore, inclusion of 200 mg/kg of hogweed and anise extracts in broiler diet is suggested to improve meat quality, immune responses, and intestinal morphology as well as reduce the number of harmful bacteria in the ileum.
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