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Brazilian Journal of Poultry Science

versão impressa ISSN 1516-635Xversão On-line ISSN 1806-9061

Braz. J. Poult. Sci. vol.20 no.3 Campinas jul./set. 2018 


Effect of Botanical Extracts on Amino Acid and Fatty Acid Profile of Broiler Meat

S WaheedI 

A HasnainI 

A AhmadI 

OM TararII 

Z YaqeenII 

TM AliI 

IDepartment of Food Science and Technology, University of Karachi, Pakistan

IIPakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR), Karachi, Pakistan


The objectives of current study were to evaluate the effect of botanical extracts as antioxidants on amino - and fatty acids profile of broiler meat. In total, 200 one-day-old broiler chicks were divided according to a completely randomized design into eight dietary treatments with five replicates of five chicks each. Dietary treatments were: A - positive control (PC) with antibiotics and synthetic antioxidants, B - negative control (NC), C - NC+Trigonellafoenum-graecum, D -NC+Nigella sativa seed, E -NC+Violaodorata, F -NC+Trachyspermumammi, G -PC+Trachyspermumammi+Trigonellafoenum-graecum+Violaodorata, and H -NC+ Trachyspermumammi, Trigonellafoenum-graecum and Viola odorata. Meat amino - and fatty acid contents were analyzed after slaughter at 35 days of age. Data were submitted to one-way analysis of variance and means were compared by Duncan’s Multiple Range test. The levels of histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine and threonine were significantly higher (p≤0.05) in the H, F, E, H and F groups respectively. Arginine, tryptophan, valine, methionine, and phenylalanine were significantly higher (p≤0.05) in the C, F, E, G and H groups. Total essential amino acid levels were highest (40.36%) in C group (p≤0.05). The meat of H broilers presented significantly higher (p≤0.05) unsaturated fatty acids (54.8%) and omega-3 contents (2.77%) and the lowest saturated fatty acid content (44.8%). Group F present the highest linoleic acid and omega-6 levels and group H the highest (p≤0.05) arachidonic and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) contents. It was concluded that botanical extracts aid health-beneficial meat production and the simultaneous inclusion of Trachyspermumammi, Trigonellafoenum-graecum, and Viola odorata in broiler diets is a more suitable option than the other dietary regimes.

Keywords: Ajwain; black cumin; carcass; fenugreek; sweet violet; omega-3


The poultry industry plays a vital role in supply of healthy meat products to the public. Broiler meat production from broiler is one of the major food-producing enterprises globally. Although broiler exhibits relatively fast growth rate and heavy body size, the nutritional profile of its meat has been criticized under conventional human dietary regimes (Fanatico et al., 2007).

The breast and thigh are the preferred parts of consumers of various regions. However, the chemical composition of meat fat, including its amino acid and fatty acids profile, have been currently intensively researched due to their direct association with cardiovascular diseases in humans. The accretion of amino acids like lysine in skeletal satellite cells in the muscle is largely influenced by the activation of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) (Tesseraud et al., 2003).Plant extracts, like that of Aloe vera, can enhance muscle integrity by elevating IGF-1 (Muhammad et al., 2013). It was demonstrated that curcumin extracts enhance the growth performance of pigs by regulating the gene expression of IGF-1 and up regulating the activity of antioxidant enzymes (Upadhaya et al., 2016). Muscular health and growth are well regulated by curcumin feeding (Alamdari et al., 2009). Botanical extracts can aid muscle regeneration and differentiation, reduce muscle atrophy and enhance anti-inflammatory responses (Rondanelli et al., 2016).

Fatty acid composition of dietary fats can affect saturated fatty acids (SFA) as well as unsaturated fatty acids (UFA) levels in broiler breast and thigh muscles (Zhang et al., 2013). Fat sources rich in UFA can be included in broiler diets to produce leaner meat with much better w-3 profiles. The desired w-3 fatty acids, such as linolenic acid (LNA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), in the breast and thighs of chicks can be achieved by using omega 3 rich oils (Sadeghi et al., 2012). Unfortunately, UFA-rich oils are subjected to faster oxidative stress and the inclusion of rancid fats with high peroxide value can impair broiler performance and severely affect immunity (McGill et al., 2011).

The dietary addition of antioxidants can improve broiler performance and immunity by reducing thiobarbituric acid levels in liver and increasing serum and liver vitamin A and E concentrations (Taverez et al., 2011). The supplementation of broiler feeds with plant-derived rich in antioxidant compounds enhance oxygen scavenging responses to safeguard fat sources, both outside and inside body. This effect of natural antioxidants reflects results in a decline in cholesterol and triglyceride levels (Ahmed et al., 2015). Phenolic compounds like quercetin and vitamin E decrease fatty acid generation, particularly of SFA (Sohaib et al., 2015). Antioxidant-rich diets potentially inhibit saturated fatty acid levels is by modulating the activity of 9-desaturase enzyme complex, which converts SFA into UFA (Gnoni et al., 2009). A researcher group documented a declining trend in SFA production in the breast muscle of broilers fed gallic acid and linoleic acid (Jung et al., 2010). Similarly, the inclusion genistein and hesperidin in broiler diets reduced SFA level in the breast meat (Kamboh & Zhu, 2013). Black cumin seeds can be used up to 1.5% in layer feed to reduce egg cholesterol and enhance UFA content in egg yolk (Yalc et al., 2009). Chia seed in diet also effective in controlling fat content in meat and significantly lowering SFA content eventually having better SFA: UFA and w-6:w-3 ratio in muscles (Ayerza et al., 2002). Feeding layers with black cumin seeds decreased yolk triglyceride content and cholesterol level in up to 40% (Nabiela et al., 2006).

Recent studies have shown that nutrition has a major influence on tissue gene expression. Dietary antioxidant supplements from plant sources can enhance the quality of meat by minimizing oxidative stress on lipids and protein molecules and enhancing the activities of glutathione peroxidase, catalase, and superoxide dismutase, ultimately improving the amino acid and fatty acid profile of meat (Upton et al., 2009). Due to their potential health benefits, consumers are willing to buy meat from broilers fed botanical extracts (Rizzo et al., 2008). After reviewing the potentials of natural extracts, this study aimed at evaluating the effects of the dietary inclusion of botanical extracts on the amino acid and fatty acid profiles of broiler meat.


Preparation of Trachyspermumammi, Trigonellafoenum-graecum, Nigella sativa and Viola odorata extracts

Dried flowers of Viola odorata (sweet violet) and seeds of Trigonellafoenum-graecum (fenugreek), Nigella sativa (black cumin) and Trachyspermumammi (Ajwain) were purchased from local sources. Seeds were ground to 30-mm particle size. The processes of sonication and extraction were performed according to the methodology proposed by Kim & Lee (2002). Briefly, 200 g of each sample were soaked in 2-L flask with 1 L of 80% methanol. After the sonication for 24 hours, samples were filtered, and again submitted to sonication for 24 hours. Filtrates were transferred to round bottom flasks on a rotary evaporator at 40°C and allowed to evaporate until the 300 mL of the contents remained, which then were standardized to 400 mL by adding distilled water.

Experimental design and bird management

Birds were reared at Research and Development Farm of Sindh Feed, Pvt. Limited, Pakistan. The laboratory analysis of the meat and eggs were performed at the Department of Food Science & Technology, University of Karachi and Pakistan Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (PCSIR) Laboratories Complex, Karachi, Pakistan.

A total of 200 one-d-oldRoss-308 broilers were divided into eight treatments with five replicates of five birds each according to a completely randomized design. Bird were reared on litter at a stocking density 0.6ft2/bird for a period of 35 days. A photoperiod of 22 hours of light and 2 hours of darkness was applied.

Isocaloric (23, 21.12 and 20% crude protein) and isonitrogenous (3000, 3300 and 3200 kcal/kg) diets (starter, grower and finisher respectively) were formulated according to recommendations of the Ross-308 manual using ingredients available in the market. The software FeedLive was used for diet formulation (Table 1).

Table 1 Ingredients and nutritional composition of the starter, grower, and finisher broiler diets (Ross 308 standards) 

Ingredients Starter Grower Finisher Nutrient composition Starter Grower Finisher
Yellow corn (90% DM) 58.15 61.8 59.7 Metabolizable energy (kcal/kg) 3000 3300 3200
Soybean meal Argentina 31.25 28.25 21.25 Crude protein % 23 21.12 20.0
Fish meal 50% C.P 4.25 2.75 2.0 Calcium % 0.92 0.87 0.81
Canola meal 0 0 6.2 Available phosphorus % 0.48 0.44 0.42
Sunflower meal 33% C.P 2.0 1.75 3.2
Limestone/ Marble 1.0 1.075 0.93 Digestible lysine % 1.28 1.153 1.03
Sodium bicarbonate. 0.2 0.225 0.2 Digestible Met+Cys % 0.95 0.872 0.8
Salt (NaCl) 0.175 0.20 0.2 Digestible arginine % 1.37 1.234 1.136
Choline chloride 70% 0.2 0.20 0.2 Digestible Tryptophan % 0.238 0.214 0.195
Sunflower oil 1.5 2.5 5 Digestible Threonine % 0.858 0.775 0.711
Lysine sulphate 0.33 0.33 0.28 Digestible isoleucine % 0.86 0.787 0.708
D. L methionine 0.3 0.28 0.23 Digestible valine % 0.96 0.872 0.813
L-Threonine 0.135 0.12 0.1 Linoleic acid % 2.1 2.7 4.061
L- Isoleucine 0 0.01 0 Sodium % 0.20 0.20 0.19
*Phyzyme 10000 TPT 0.010 0.010 0.01 Chloride % 0.22 0.21 0.20
** Vitamin/ mineral premix 0.50 0.50 0.5 Potassium 0.99 0.99 0.92
TOTAL 100 100 100

*Phyzyme 10000 TPT contained phytase 10000 FTU/g

** Vitamin and mineral premix provided per kilogram of diet: vitamin A, 12.000 IU; cholecalciferol, 3.000 IU; vitamin E, 80 mg; vitamin K3, 3.2 mg; vitamin B1, 3.2 mg; vitamin B2, 8.6 mg; niacin 65 mg; vitamin B6, 4.3 mg; vitamin B12, 20 μg; Ca-D- pantothenate, 20 mg; Folic acid, 2 mg; biotin, 0.2 mg; Mn, 120 mg; Zn,110 mg; Fe, 60 mg; Cu, 16 mg; Se, 0.3 mg, Iodine 1.25mg

Treatment groups were:

  • A: Positive control (PC) diet containing an antibiotic (lincomycin (4.4%) at 100 mg/kg); vitamin E at 40 mg/kg and a commercial synthetic antioxidant product at 150 mg/kg (SELDOX®, Trow Nutrition, Netherlands), contain ingethoxyquin, BHA, BHT and citric acid.

  • B: Negative control (NC), diet with no inclusion of antioxidants or antibiotics.

  • C: NC + supplemented with fenugreek crude extract at 1ml/kg diet.

  • D: NC + supplemented with black cumin seed crude extract 1 mL/kg diet

  • E: NC + supplemented with sweet violet crude extract 1 mL/kg diet.

  • F: NC + supplemented with ajwain extracts 1mL/kg feed

  • G: PC + supplemented with ajwain, fenugreek and sweet violet extracts, each at 0.5 mL/kg feed.

  • H: NC + supplemented with ajwain, fenugreek and sweet violet extracts, each at 0.5 mL/kg feed.

Parameters evaluated

At 35 days of age, birds were slaughtered, and eviscerated. Carcass yield (%) was calculated by the following equation.

Carcass%=Carcass weightLive weight×100

Breast and thighs were cut up from the carcass using sharp knives and their yields (%)were calculated on whole carcass basis using following equations.

Breast%=Breast weightCarcass weight×100

Thigh%=Thigh weightCarcass weight×100

Amino Acid Analysis

Breast and thigh meat samples were collected to determine their amino acid profile. Briefly, 50-mg samples were hydrolyzed for 18 h in 6N HCl. The sample container was sealed to prevent oxidation and stored at 110°C for hydrolysis. The amino acid composition of the meat samples all birds fed the A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H diets was determined according to the method of Schuster (1988) using an amino acid analyzer. Samples were extracted in citrate buffer (2.2 pH) solution followed by filtration to obtain a clear solution of the free amino acids. An aliquot of this clear filtrate was injected into the column (Shim-pack ISC-07/S1504 Na) of the HPLC-based amino acid analyzer (RF-10AXL, Shimadzu Corporation, Tokyo, Japan) equipped with fluorescence detector (FLD-6A). Sodium hypochlorite and o-phthalaldehyde solutions were used as reaction solutions for post-column derivation of amino acids.

Fatty Acid Analysis

For fatty acid analysis, fats were hydrolyzed and fatty acids were derived from total fat content according to the procedure of O’Fallon et al. (2007). Briefly, 50 µL of fat/oil was placed in a Pyrex screw cap tube, and 1 mL of internal standard, 0.7 mL KOH solution and almost 5.3 mL of methanol were added and mixed. Tubes were capped and placed on a preheated water bath at 55°C for 90 minutes. The tubes were then cooled in water followed by H2SO4addition in the samples. The tubes were then again kept in water bath at 55°C for 1.5 hours, followed by cooling and addition of 3 mL of hexane. Tubes were then placed into a vortex mixer for 5 minutes. The fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) hexane layer (upper layer) was separated, filtered and then analyzed. Gas chromatography was performed in GC-2010 apparatus (Shimadzu Corp., Japan) 07947 equipped with FID detector, split injector and SP-2560 silica fused capillary column (100m x 0.25mm x 0.2µm, Supelco) under the following operating program: injection volume 1 µL at 250°C, detector temperature of 260°C, column temperature of 140°C for 5 minutes and then ramped to 240°C at 4°C per minute, remained stable for 15 minutes. Helium was used as carrier gas at flow rate of 1.12mL/min and linear velocity of 20 cm/s; split ratio 1:100. Results were expressed as percentages relative to FID response area.

Statistical Analysis

The collected data were subjected to one-way analysis of variance (Steel et al., 1997)using the SPSS Statistics 20.0 software (IBM Deutschland GmbH, Ehningen, Germany) and means were compared using Duncan’s Multiple Range (DMR) test (Duncan, 1955) following the statistical model:

Yij= µ +Ʈi+εij


Yij= Observation of dependent variable recorded on ith treatment

µ = Population mean

Ʈi= Effect of ith treatment (i = 8 i.eA, B, C, D, E, F, G and H)

Ԑij = Residual effect of jth observation on ith treatment NID ~ 0, σ2


Carcass traits

Average carcass yield parameters are shown in Table 2. Thigh yields were significantly different (p≤0.05) among the dietary treatments. Maximum thigh yield (20.6±0.115) was determined in the birds fed the positive control diet. The lower carcass yield of the birds fed botanical extracts may be due to the fat content in their carcasses, as fat contribute to total carcass weight (Table 2). Tavarez et al. (2011) also observed that feeding antioxidant to broilers had no effect on carcass weight, carcass or breast meat yield, but in general increased serum vitamin E and vitamin A levels. The highest breast meat yield was obtained in group G, which was fed the positive control diet supplemented with antioxidants from botanical sources. Botanically-derived compounds like curcumin have been used to promote muscle health, strength and growth (Nkukwana et al., 2014). Similarly, scientific reviews on the effects of botanical extracts on muscle health (Rondanelli et al., 2016) describe their positive role in muscle growth and integrity.

Table 2 Carcass yield of broilers fed botanical extracts 

Treatments Carcass Thigh Breast Fats
A (Positive control; PC) 66.5 ± 0.173d 20.6 ± 0.115c 21.0 ± 0.115d 7.20 ± 0.056d
B (Negative control; NC) 64.5 ± 0.173ab 18.0± 0.577a 19.0 ± 0.577a 7.53 ± 0.066e
C (NC+ fenugreek) 64.1 ± 0.0a 19.6 ± 0.23bc 20.2± 0.115bc 6.60 ± 0.00bc
D (NC+ black cumin seed) 64.4 ± 0.23ab 18 ± 0.773a 18.87 ± 0.881a 6.50 ± 0.115bc
E(NC+ sweet violet) 64.0 ± 0.115a 18 ± 0.577a 18.8 ± 0.057a 5.00 ± 0.115a
F (NC+ajwain) 64.8 ± 0.23 b 17.8± 0.115b 19.87 ± 0.666b 6.73 ± 0.666c
G (PC+ajwain+ fenugreek+sweet violet) 65.4 ± 0.115c 19.0 ± 0.058ab 23.6 ± 0.346e 6.40± 0.057b
H (NC+ajwain+fenugreek+sweet violet) 64.0 ± 0.208a 19.8 ± 0.115bc 20.73± 0.105cd 6.43± 0.12b
p-value 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000

Means ± SE within a column with different lowercase letters are significantly different at (p≤0.05)

Essential amino acid profile of broiler meat

The meat contents of essential amino acids, including histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine and threonine were significantly (p≤0.05) lower in the negative control group (diet B) compared to all other treatments (Table 3). The breast meat of group H birds presented the highest (p≤0.05) histidine (4%) levels (Table 3). Isoleucine level (4.5%) was significantly (p≤0.05) in the meat of birds fed ajwain extracts (diet F) and leucine (7%; p≤0.05) in the meat of those fed sweet violet extract (diet E). The highest lysine level (9.1%) was achieved with diet F and the lowest with the negative-control diet (B) (Table 3). Threonine (4.2%) levels were higher better (p≤0.05) in the meat of broilers fed ajwain extracts. The breast meat of birds fed fenugreek extract (diet C) presented higher arginine (5.9%; p≤0.05) compared with the other treatments (Table 3). Meat tryptophan values (Table 3) were significantly higher (p≤0.05) in the F-group broilers (1.2%) and valine (4.1%; p≤0.05) in E-group broilers compared with all other treatments. Table 3 shows higher meat methionine content in group G and phenylalanine in group H, both significantly higher (p≤0.05) than in the other groups. The meat of broilers fed sweet violet extract (diets contained the low esttryptophan, methionine and phenylalanine levels (Table 3). The breast meat of group C broilers presented the highest sum of all essential amino acids (40.36%) followed by group H (40.19), both of which were significantly higher (p≤0.05) than other groups. The essential amino acid analysis of the broilers fed negative control diet showed that it contained lower values of many essential amino acids compared with those fed the other tested diets. The feeding of botanical extracts to broilers in general increased the individual levels of essential amino acids, and consequently the sum of all essential amino acid.

Table 3 Essential Amino acid profile of meat from broilers fed botanical extracts 

Treatments Histidine Isoleucine Leucine Lysine Threonine Tryptophan Valine Methionine p-Alanine Arginine Total Essential AA
A (Positive control; PC) 2.95±0.12b 3.5±0.17b 5.6±0.26ab 6.2±0.18b 3.35±0.25b 0.85±0.64b 3.6±0.10b 1.5±0.05ab 2.6±0.13bc 5.00±0.17c 35.15±0.03b
B (Negative control; NC) 2.52±0.09a 2.7±0.09a 5.4±0.12a 5.3±0.91a 3.0±0.01a 0.9±0.58bc 3.2±0.18ab 1.4±0.17ab 2.7±0.056cd 6.20±0.18d 33.33±0.17a
C (NC+ fenugreek) 3.07±0.05b 4.5±0.06c 6.2±0.16c 7.5±0.08c 3.8±0.01c 0.9±0.00bc 3.55±0.23b 1.4±0.91ab 3.54±0.125e 5.90±0.09d 40.36±0.35e
D (NC+ black cumin seed) 3.92±0.00c 3.7±0.17b 5.9±0.09bc 6.00±0.12b 4.2±0.12d 0.75±0.29ab 3.2±0.0ab 1.7±0.091bc 2.35±0.1ab 4.90±0.11c 36.62±0.42c
E(NC+ sweet violet) 2.32±0.09a 3.0±0.15a 7.0±0.12 d 7.1±0.17c 3.5±0.12bc 0.6±0.02a 4.1±0.13c 1.3±0.012a 2.3±0.08a 3.63±0.06b 34.48±0.35b
F (NC+ajwain) 2.9±0.09b 4.5±0.08c 7.2±0.12d 5.5±0.23a 4.2±0.057d 1.2±0.01d 4.1±0.00c 1.9±0.09cd 2.9±0.04de 3.01±0.09a 37.41±0.17d
G (PC+ajwain+ fenugreek+sweet violet) 2.44±0.05a 2.9±0.87a 6.2±0.09c 8.1±0.09d 3.8±0.09c 1.1±0.06cd 2.9±0.12a 2.0±0.12d 3.1±0.58e 4.7±0.90c 37.29±0.23d
H (NC+ajwain+fenugreek+sweet violet) 4.00±0.07c 3.8±0.12b 6.2±0.12c 9.1±0.09e 2.7±0.00a 1.1±0.06cd 2.9±0.12a 1.6±0.40ab 4.1±0.40f 4.69±0.01c 40.19±0.12e
p-value 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000

Means ± SE within a column with different lowercase letters are significantly different at (p≤0.05).

The overall improvement of essential amino acid contents in the meat of broilers fed the plant extracts suggest the potential benefits of their inclusion in broiler diets. These results may be due to the presence of bioactive compounds in the evaluated herbs. The findings of the current study are supported by reports of the presence of sulfur and non-sulfur compounds in Allium sativum (Amagase et al., 2001). Some of these compounds are reported as alliin (Puvača et al., 2015) composed of the sulfur-containing amino acid g-L-glutamyl-S-allyl-L-cysteines and S-allyl-L-cysteine sulfoxides (Stoll & Seebeck, 1948), methiin, (+)-S-(trans-1-propenyl)-L-cysteine sulfoxide, and cycloalliin (Fujiwara et al., 1958).

Non-essential amino acid profile of broiler meat

There was a significant (p≤0.05) increase in non-essential amino acid levels (46%) in the breast meat of birds fed sweet violet extract (diet E), as shown in Table 4.The meat of broilers fed the E diet meat presented higher proline (4.5%), glycine (6.8%) and alanine (8.2%) contents compared with the other treatments (p≤0.05). The meat from birds fed ajwain extract had significantly (p≤0.05) higher tyrosine (3.6%), cysteine (1.4%) and total amino acid values (80.81%) than that of the other treatments (Table 4). Diet D promoted significantly higher (p≤0.05) aspartic acid values (14.5%) as compared with the other diets (Table 4). The lowest values (p≤0.05) of tyrosine, aspartic acid and, consequently, of total non-essential amino acids were obtained in the meat of broiler fed the G diet (Table 5).

Table 4 Non-Essential Amino acid profile of meat from broilers fed botanical extracts 

Treatments Tyrosine Aspartic acid Glutamic acid Serine Proline Glycine Alanine Cysteine Total Non-Essential AA Total AA
A (Positive control; PC) 2.4±0.23bc 8.0±0.16a 12.0±0.46cd 3.2±0.1d 3.1±0.91c 5.0±0.06b 6.0±0.29cd 0.7±0.11ab 40.4±0.23ab 75.55±0.58b
B (Negative control; NC) 2.1±0.56b 10.3±0.15d 10.0±0.11ab 2.7±0.09b 2.6±0.91b 6.1±0.13c 5.8±0.11bc 1.0±0.15bc 40.6±0.11b 73.93±0.16a
C (NC+ fenugreek) 2.9±0.09d 9.8±0.92d 8.6±0.06a 2.9±0.92c 3.6±0.91d 5.2±0.91b 5.3±0.06b 0.65±0.05a 38.95±0.00ab 79.31±0.00cd
D (NC+ black cumin seed) 2.1±0.09b 14.5±0.22e 10.5±0.45bc 3.1±0.06d 2.5±0.9ab 4.5±0.06a 6.5±0.06d 0.6±0.58a 43.3±0.11c 80.0±0.91d
E (NC+ sweet violet) 2.5±0.06c 7.6±0.00a 13.0±0.92d 2.2±0.06a 4.5±0.28e 6.8±0.17d 8.2±0.34f 1.2±0.81cd 46.0±0.35d 80.48±0.23e
F (NC+ajwain) 3.6±0.12e 9.3±0.17bc 8.6±0.91a 2.9±0.18bc 4.1±0.11e 6.1±0.13c 7.35±0.03e 1.4±0.18d 43.4±0.12c 80.81±0.18e
G (PC+ajwain+ fenugreek+sweet violet) 1.8±0.09a 7.5±0.29a 10.0±0.46ab 3.2±081d 2.8±0.15bc 6.2±0.18c 5.5±0.29bc 0.8±0.9ab 37.8±0.92a 75.09±0.29b
H (NC+ajwain+fenugreek+sweet violet) 2.3±0.09bc 9.1±0.18b 11.5±0.64bcd 3.13±0.10d 2.1±0.23a 4.5±0.23a 4.9±0.23a 0.7±0.01b 38.3±0.82a 78.48±0.20c
p-value 0.003 0.018 0.008 0.000 0.000 0.007 0.007 0.009 0.025 0.000

Means ± SE within a column with different lowercase letters are significantly different at (p≤0.05).

Table 5 Fatty acid profile (C15-C22) of meat from broilers fed botanical extracts 

Fatty acids
A B C D E F G H p-value
C 15-1 18.28±0.96a 18.68±0.55ab 17.09±0.65a 17.24±1.06a 16.51±0.22a 17.98±1.14a 17.23±0.35a 20.94±1.20b 0.00
C 16-0 15.250±3.37cd 18.21±0.37f 16.44±0.78de 17.51±0.22ef 15.67±0.64d 13.94±0.42c 10.93±0.98b 9.09±0.25a 0.000
C 18-0 30.61±1.10a 33.12±0.44ab 32.6±1.63ab 31.95±1.25ab 30.84±0.21ab 30.06±1.15a 33.8±0.20b 32.05±0.50ab 0.000
C18-1n9c 17.66±1.75b 13.93±0.26a 16.17±0.40ab 16.41±0.24ab 17.83±0.21b 20.73±1.38cd 22.0±0.84d 18.44±0.48bc 0.000
C18-2n6t 0.32±0.13bc 0.21±0.00a 0.28±0.00ab 0.27±0.01ab 0.31±0.01bc 0.37±0.03c 0.31±0.00bc 0.29±0.00bc 0.000
C 20 0.29±0.00d 0.19±0.01cd 0.21±0.01c 0.19±0.01cd 0.00±0.00a 0.32±0.03d 0.15±0.00b 0.44±0.01c 0.000
C 20-1n9 8.76±0.34a 8.97±0.29a 11.78±0.35b 11.93±0.48b 9.8±0.37a 9.71±0.72a 9.32±0.29a 11.91±0.15b 0.000
C 20-3n6 0.11±0.00b 0.00±0.00a 0.13±0.01b 0.108±0.01b 0.00±0.0a 0.22±0.00c 0.26 ± 0.02d 0.00 ± 0.0a 0.000
C 20-5n3 0.91±0.018a 1.11±0.097ab 1.04±0.04ab 0.87±0.03a 1.22±0.09b 1.30±0.12b 1.22±0.14b 2.63±0.03c 0.000
C 22 0.17±0.00ab 0.12±0.01a 0.17±0.01ab 0.18±0.01ab 0.23±0.012b 0.32±0.08c 0.19±0.01ab 0.17±0.01ab 0.004
C 22-2 2.42±0.20d 0.88±0.02a 2.28±0.02d 1.62±0.03bc 2.40±0.10d 2.68±0.28d 1.84±0.04c 1.29±0.01b 0.000
SFA 51.16±1.16bc 55.76±1.08d 50.94±1.01bc 51.13±1.76bc 51.62±2.17cd 46.73±0.52ab 47.33±1.94abc 44.8±1.43a 0.000
UFA 48.84±1.75b 44.24±0.19a 49.06±1.22bc 47.61±1.12ab 48.38±0.76ab 53.27±2.08cd 51.67±1.39bcd 54.8±1.74d 0.000
MUFA 45.03±0.03abc 41.97±0.03a 45.39±0.39c 45.91±0.91abc 44.4±1.16ab 48.38±2.33bcd 48.92±1.86cd 50.71±1.10d 0.000
PUFA 3.82±0.21c 2.27±0.03a 3.66± 0.10c 2.96±0.23b 3.95±0.27cd 4.59±0.41d 3.74±0.15c 4.50±0.14d 0.000
OMG-3 0.91±0.01a 1.24±0.04bc 1.04±0.02a 1.00±0.00a 1.22±0.12b 1.38±0.02cd 1.43±0.03d 2.77±0.06e 0.000
OMG-6 0.56±0.01c 0.21±0.01a 0.41±0.01b 0.38±0.01b 0.40±0.00b 0.68±0.04d 0.57±0.02c 0.36±0.024b 0.000

Means ± SE within a row with different lowercase letters are significantly different at (p≤0.05).

C 15-1 = pentadecanoic acid; C 16-0 = palmitic acid; C 18-0 = stearic acid; C18-1n9c = oleic acid; C18-2n6t = linoleic acid; C 20= arachidonic acid; C 20-1n9 = eicosenoic acid; C 20-3n6 = eicosatrienoic acid; C 20-5n3 = eicosapentaenoic acid; C 22 = behenic acid; C 22-2 = docosadienoic acid; SFA = saturated fatty acids; UFA = unsaturated fatty acids; MUFA = monounsaturated fatty acids; PUFA = polyunsaturated fatty acids; OMG-3 = omega-3 fatty acids; OMG-6 = omega-6 fatty acids.

Higher non-essential amino acids levels were obtained in the meat of broilers feds weet violet extract, and the combination of fenugreek, ajwain and sweet violet extracts resulted in a decline in meat non-essential amino acid content. Total amino acids contents were better in all groups supplemented with antioxidants from plant-derived sources. The process of muscle growth and protein accretion in broilers was best described by Tesseraud et al. (2003), who explained that the accretion of amino acids like lysine in skeletal muscle satellite cells is greatly influenced by the activation of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). Antioxidant-rich botanical extracts from plants like Aloe vera boost the biological role of IGF-1 to modulate energy kinetics, myoglobin accretion and muscular integrity (Muhammad et al., 2013). Muscle health and growth may be regulated by feeding curcumin, which was shown to improve broiler growth performance by regulating IGF-1 gene expression and enhancing the activity of antioxidant enzymes (Upadhaya et al., 2016; Alamdari et al., 2009). Recently, Rondanelli et al.,(2016) described that botanical extracts may aid muscle regeneration and differentiation, reduce muscle atrophy, and demonstrated it has anti-inflammatory and anti-fatigue properties, preventing muscle damage.

Meat Fatty Acid Composition

The results of the meat fatty acid analysis are shown in Table 5. Pentadecanoic acid (C15-1) levels of 18.68% and 20.94% were determined in the B and H groups, respectively, and both were significantly (p≤0.05) higher than all other groups. Palmitic acid (C16) level was highest (18.21%) in the broilers fed the negative-control diet (group B) and lowest in those group H (9.09%), both at p≤0.05. The highest (p≤0.05) stearic acid values were obtained in group H (33.8%) and the lowest (p≤0.05) in Groups A (30.61%) and F (30.06%). Oleic acid levels were significantly (p≤0.05) higher in group G (22%) and lower in group B (13.93%), respectively, than in the other groups. Linoleic acid (C18-2n6) values obtained were significantly (p≤0.05) higher in group F and lower in group B (0.21%) than in the other groups. Arachidonic acid (C20) was significantly higher (p≤0.05) in group H chicken fats (0.44%) compared with other groups. Eicosenoic acid (C20-1n9) values in groups C (11.78%) and D (11.93%) were higher (p≤0.05) compared with the other groups. The meat of broilers in group G presented higher eicosatrienoic acid (C20-3n6) levels compared with the other treatments (p≤0.05). The highest eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA: C20-5n) was determined in group H (2.63%; p≤0.05). The highest (p≤0.05) behenic (C22) and docosadienoic (C22-2) acids levels were obtained in broilers fed ajwain extracts. The meat of the broilers fed the negative control diet presented the highest saturated fatty acid (SFA; 55.76%) levels (p≤0.05), and the lowest unsaturated fatty acid (UFA; 41.47%) and polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA; 2.24%) levels compared with other groups. Group H presented had significantly higher (p≤0.05) UFA (54.8%) and mono-unsaturated fatty acid (MUFA; 50.71%) levels compared with other all groups (Table 5). Maximum PUFA was observed in group F samples (4.59%) followed by group H (4.5%) and both were significantly better than other groups. Higher omega-3 fatty acid levels were obtained in groups F, G and H. Group H presented the highest omega-3 fatty acid level (2.77%) compared with the other groups (p≤0.05), which was almost three-fold higher than that obtained with the positive control diet (0.91%). The meat of broilers in groups C, D, E, F and G presented 1.04%, 1.0%, 1.22%,1.38%, and 1.43% omega-3 levels, respectively, which were significantly higher than obtained with the positive control diet (p≤0.05).The highest and the lowest omega-6 levels were obtained in groups F (0.68%) and B (0.21%), respectively, both were significantly different from the other groups (p≤0.05).

The inclusion of botanical extracts in broiler diets in the present study resulted in a remarkable increase in the meat levels of unsaturated fatty acids and a clear decline in saturated fats. The meat of the broilers fed the negative-control diet (B group) presented the highest SFA and lowest UFA levels among all groups. On the other hand, the meat of broilers fed the negative control diet with the combination of the evaluated botanical extract (group H) contained 10% more UFA due to the reduction of almost 10% SFA, almost the double of PUFA and three times higher omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids compared with the B group (negative control). It was demonstrated that UFA levels and UFA/SFA ratios in the breast and drumstick meat increased with the dietary supplementation of 2 or 5% olive oil (Zhang et al., 2013). The inclusion of black cumin seeds in layer diets resulted in better fatty acid profiles and lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the egg (Yalc et al., 2009; Nabiela et al., 2006). Similarly, the botanical compound quercetin reduced SFA levels in broiler fats, especially of myristic and stearic acids (Sohaib et al., 2015). Basil seed and chamomile in broiler diet reduced muscle lipid and triglyceride levels (Ahmed et al., 2015). It was demonstrated that chia seeds reduced SFA and SFA:PUFA and omega-6:omega-3 ratios in chicken meat (Ayerza et al., 2002). The meat fatty acid profiles obtained in the present study when botanical extracts were included in the diet are consistent with the results of Nkukwana et al. (2014), who reported higher C18,C 18-3n6,C 20, C20-2,C 20-3n6 and C 15 contents in the breast meat of broilers fed Moringa olifera leaf meal. It is very clear that botanical extracts with high levels of antioxidant compounds can protect oils and proteins in living tissues (Zhang et al., 2010).


The extracts of spices and sweet violet flowers evaluated positively influenced broiler physiology. Overall, they improved meat quality as shown by the higher meat content of amino acids (especially of essential AA), as well as by the reduced meat levels of saturated fatty acids and the increased levels of UFA, MUFA, PUFA, and omega-3 and optimal fatty acid ratios. In conclusion, the evaluated natural botanical antioxidants are good modulators of amino acid and fatty acid contents in broiler meat, and the inclusion of a combination of ajwain, fenugreek and sweet violet extracts in the diet may efficiently replace the conventional antibiotic growth promoters.


The authors would like to thank PCSIR Laboratories Complex, Karachi, Pakistan for providing us opportunity to conduct research work in their laboratories and to conduct the experimental trial in animal research station.


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Received: January 19, 2018; Accepted: March 08, 2018

Corresponding author e-mail address Shahid Waheed Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Karachi, Pakistan.


We declare that we have no conflict of interest

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