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Brazilian Journal of Poultry Science

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


RIZZO, PV; MENTEN, JFM; RACANICCI, AMC  e  SANTAROSA, J. Foundation and perspectives of the use of plant extracts as performance enhancers in broilers. Rev. Bras. Cienc. Avic. [online]. 2008, vol.10, n.4, pp.195-204. ISSN 1806-9061.

Feed is responsible for about 70% of broilers production costs, leading to an increasing number of studies on alternative dietary products that benefit bird performance and lower production costs. Since the 1950s, antimicrobial additives are the most frequently used performance enhancers in animal production and their positive results are observed even in high-challenge conditions. Since the 1990s, due to the ban of the use of some antibiotics as growth promoters and the growing trend of the public to consume natural products, plant extracts have been researched as alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters. The first study that evaluated the antibacterial activities of plant extracts was carried out in 1881; however, they started to be used as flavor enhancers only during the next decades. With the emergence of antibiotics in the 1950s, the use of plant extracts as antimicrobial agents almost disappeared. There are several studies in literature assessing the use of plant extracts, individually or in combination, as antimicrobials, antioxidants, or digestibility enhancers in animal feeds. Research results on the factors affecting their action, such as plant variety, harvest time, processing, extraction, as well as the technology employed to manufacture the commercial product and dietary inclusion levels show controversial results, warranting the need of further research and standardization for the effective use of plant extracts as performance enhancers, when added to animal feeds. This article aims at presenting plant extracts as alternatives to antibiotics, explaining their main modes of action as performance enhancers in broiler production.

Palavras-chave : Broilers; performance; plant extracts.

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