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Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia

Print version ISSN 1516-3598On-line version ISSN 1806-9290


OETTING, Liliana Lotufo et al. Effects of herbal extracts and antimicrobials on apparent digestibility, performance, organs morphometry and intestinal histology of weanling pigs. R. Bras. Zootec. [online]. 2006, vol.35, n.4, pp.1389-1397. ISSN 1516-3598.

The purpose of this trial was to evaluate the effects of antimicrobial and herbal extracts on digestibility, performance, morphology and histology of weanling pigs. One hundred and twenty weaned pigs were used to compare five treatments: control - basal diet; antimicrobial - basal diet plus Zn bacitracina, olaquindox, and colistin (50 ppm of each); herbal extract A, B and C - basal diet plus 700 ppm, 1,400 ppm and 2,100 ppm of herbal extract, respectively, with 12 replications (pens of two pigs each) per treatment in a 35-d randomized complete block design experiment. The herbal extract consisted of mixture of equal amounts of essential oils of thyme, clove, oregano, eugenol and carvacrol. In digestibility assay, 40 pigs (four replications per treatment) were fed a diet with chromium oxide (marker method). On 35th day of experimental period, one animal of each experimental unit was slaughtered and samples were collected for analysis. The herbal extracts increased dietary DM apparent digestibility compared to control and antimicrobial treatments. The antimicrobial agents improved performance of weanling pigs during all phases of the experimental period compared to the other treatments. Pigs fed high dietary level of herbal extract showed better results for pig performance and other variables. The antimicrobial treatment improved the relative weights of intestinal tract and empty small intestine and improved ileum villus height and ileum villus height:crypt depth ratio of animals. However, more studies are necessary to evaluate which type of essential oil should be used and the best combination and inclusion level of herbal extract in the diet.

Keywords : additives; growth promoters; herbal extract; swine.

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