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Oregano Oil Use For Animal Feed


There is an increasing number of users of natural additives in food products such as the use of Phytogenics feed additives especially for use in swine and poultry. Essential oils are a natural alternative that can also be used in animal feed due to their potential health benefits and which improved performance in meat production. Oregano essential oil minimizes meat downgrading is due to transport stress or the modification of the ruminal microorganisms. This review suggested a promising development of food natural preservative against spoilage microorganisms in food systems and the addition of oregano essential oil is a good way of preserving meat and could replace synthetic antioxidants. Moreover, oregano oil and modified atmosphere packaging exhibit an additive preservation effect among fresh meat and is effective for controlling the growth for meat quality, microorganism and special attention should be put on the optimal oregano essential oil dose while handling to control or improve the chemical, physical, and sensory properties of meat.

Oregano Essential Oil Used For Animal Production In Meat Animal Health Packaging Pathogens Sensory Meat Quality

Antimicrobial growth promoters (AGP) were used for decades to increase performance in animal production and the link between them and the development of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms added to consumer pressure caused major changes. The European Union banned AGP in animal production, which in turn emphasized the importance of researching alternative compounds to promote general health and increase the performance in animals and due to their natural origin and reduced side effects, studies have been mainly focused on spices, herbs, and their extracts. The effect of the aromatic plants is primarily based on their essential oils (EO) and other metabolites, for example, vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, terpenoids, carotenoids, phytoestrogens, etc. Among the activities and applications of EO reported in animal and meat production are preservative, antioxidant, antimicrobial and they enhance production of stimulating blood circulation, digestive enzymes and improve immune status. Even though there are 3000 estimated EOs, only 300 of them are of commercial use and the EO from oregano (OEO) has been one of the most widely studied due to its content of carvacrol and thymol, and to a lesser extent y‐terpinene, p‐cymene and myrcene. Some in vitro and in vivo properties of OEO are an antioxidant, antimicrobial, digestive stimulant, etc.

Poultry And Egg Production

Results of the effect of OEO in poultry and egg production cannot be considered conclusive or consistent, as they can differ even within researches of the same authors. Studies supporting the positive effects of OEO suggest that they increase the performance in daily and final body weight in broilers and laying hens, nutrient utilization, egg weight, and production and feed intake. Improvement in feed efficiency and growth performance might be related with changes in the intestinal morphology, like the increment in villus height to crypt depth ratio or enzyme activity as in the protein digestibility due to the chymotrypsin role and the prevention of coccidiosis. It has also been implied that antioxidants from the OEO might transfer into the body of the laying hen, which in turn inhibit the chain reaction associated with lipid oxidation and thus result in reducing the oxidation in egg yolk. In contrast, there are many authors who have suggested that OEO have no effect on animal performance. For example, many people have reported that the addition of thyme and OEO did not significantly influence the body weight, feed consumption, and conversion, egg production, mass and weight in laying hens.

Pig Production

As in poultry production, results of the effects of the inclusion of OEO in the diets are contradictory in terms of product performance and its positive effects link to dietary inclusion of OEO might be clearer in other areas, for example, immunomodulation and changes in blood counts ; in sows, it increases their reproductive performance and causes a reduction in the oxidative stress status and enhances the performance of their litters. Oregano essential oil can also be used as well to alleviate stress due to transportation as it improved the antioxidant status. Finally, animals fed 1000 ppm of OEO produced meat of top high quality with minimum lipid oxidation.

Milk Production And Ruminant Nutrition

The use of EOs in ruminants and milk production is lightly documented and many of these studies are laboratory-based and Several essential oils and their components display antimicrobial properties that may affect rumen metabolism. Which helps to influence milk production parameters and Many of these compounds (e.g. flavonoids) have distinct flavors and aromas, which is fed to animals, might change the sensory characteristics of the milk; however, this effect might be temporal. Due to a direct transfer of aromatic compounds from the feed (and environment) to the milk, formation of aromatic compounds during digestion of the feed and excretion of the EO in the milk the organoleptic quality of the milk can be affected by feeding EO. Ruminal microorganisms utilize nutrients to produce volatile fatty acids but this process has energy and protein losses, which render the performance inefficient and could lose might be controlled with the inclusion of EO in the diet to limit the growth of Gram‐positive and Gram‐negative bacteria.


Even though some results are contradictory, it seems that the use of OEO as a feedstuff in live animals and production has a positive effect and some of the effects are indirect or might not be evident as the use of OEO to minimize meat downgrading due to the modification of the ruminal microorganisms or transport stress. The use of EO is still very much under review, as the doses are not fully developed because the antimicrobial action of these compounds is fully studied in vivo and in vitro. Which might be of relevance to study not only the inclusion of EO but also the inclusion of by‐products that result from the production of EO. By this review, there is a promising development of food natural preservative against spoilage microorganisms in food systems by the use of oregano essential oil. The effectiveness of oregano essential oil in retarding oxidative changes in meats which have been widely demonstrated. The addition of oregano essential oil is one of the best ways of preserving meat and could modify atmosphere packaging exhibit an additive preservation effect in fresh meat and synthetic antioxidants. Without detrimental changes in sensory and acceptability attributes the oregano essential oil is effective by controlling the growth of microorganisms.