Functional assessment of encapsulated citral for controlling necrotic enteritis in broiler chickens.

Yang, Y., Wang, Q., Diarra, M.S., Yu, H., Hua, Y., and Gong, J. (2016). "Functional assessment of encapsulated citral for controlling necrotic enteritis in broiler chickens.", Poultry Science, 95(4), pp. 780-789. doi : 10.3382/ps/pev375  Access to full text


Development of viable alternatives to antibiotics to control necrotic enteritis (NE) caused by Clostridium perfringens is becoming urgent for chicken production due to pessures on poultry producers to limit or stop the use of antibiotics in feed. We have previously identified citral as a potential alternative to antibiotics. Citral has strong antimicrobial activity and can be encasupsulated in a powder form for protection from loss during feed processing, storage, and intestinal delivery. In the present study, encapsulated citral was evaluated both in vitro and in vivo for its antimicrobial activity against C. perfringens. Encapsulation did not adversely affect the antimicrobial activity of citral. In addition, encapsulated citral was superior to the unencapsulated form in retaining its antimicrobial activity after treatment with simulated gastrointestinal fluids and in the presence of chicken intestinal digesta. In addition, the higher antimicrobial activity of encapsulated citral was confirmed in digesta samples from broilers that had been gavaged with encapsulated or unencapsulated citral. In broilers infected with C. perfringens, the diets supplemented with encapsualted citral at both 250 and 650 μg/g significantly reduced intestinal NE lesions, which was comparable to the effect of bacitracin- and salinomycin-containing diets. However, supplementation with the encapsulated citral appeared to have no significant impact on the intestinal burden of Lactobacillus. These data indicate that citral can be used to control NE in chickens after proper protection by encapsulation.

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