2017 Volume 54 Issue 3 Pages 218-227
The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of oregano, attapulgite, benzoic acid and their combination on broiler performance, microflora composition of jejunum and cecum, intestinal architecture and breast and thigh meat composition. A total of 400 one-day-old broiler chicks were used in a 42-day trial. They were randomly distributed into five treatments with four replicates of twenty chickens per pen: Control group; Attapulgite group; Oregano essential oil group; Benzoic acid group; Mixed group. At the end of the trial, total counts of bacteria, Enterobacteriaceae, Lactobacilli, and Clostridium perfringens were enumerated by real time PCR at both jejunum and cecum. Intestinal morphology was carried out in duodenum, jejunum and ileum, for villus height and crypt depth. Cell proliferation was also evaluated in the small intestine and the cecum. The results showed that oregano and benzoic acid improved some growth performance parameters. The combined use of the examined substances increased enterobacteria counts in the jejunum, and cell proliferation in the duodenum and the jejunum. Benzoic acid improved intestinal wall morphology in the ileum. In conclusion, the combined dietary supplementation with oregano, attapulgite and benzoic acid can be a novel tool to beneficially modulate broiler chickens performance.