Pharmacological Screening of Some Medicinal Plants as Antimicrobial and Feed Additives

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Virginia Tech

The following study was conducted to investigate the antibacterial and feed additive potential of medicinal plants. Ethanol extracts of different medicinal plants including Curcuma longa (Turmeric), Zingiber officinale (Ginger), Piper nigrum (Black Pepper), Cinnamomum cassia (Cinnamon), Thymus vulgaris (Thyme), Laurus nobilis (Bay leaf), and Syzgium aromaticum (Clove) were tested using the disc diffusion method for their antimicrobial activity against the common poultry pathogens E. coli, S. typhimurium, E. faecium, and E. faecalis. Cinnamon extract (CE), at 130 mg/disk, exhibited antibacterial activity against E. coli, S. typhimurium, and E. faecalis. Thyme extract (TE), at 30 mg/disk, exhibited antibacterial activity against E. coli, E. faecium, and E. faecalis while the remaining medicinal plants extracts showed no activity. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of the cinnamon and thyme ranged from 31.25 to 250 mg/ml by the dilution method. From this in vitro antibacterial study, cinnamon and thyme were selected for a 21-d feeding trial in broilers to study their influence on feed consumption, body weight gain, and feed conversion. There were 6 dietary treatments groups: 1) negative control (NC) containing no plant extracts or antibiotic, 2) positive control (PC) containing BMD (bacitracin) at 50g/ton of feed, 3) Diet 1 plus low level of cinnamon extract (LCE) at 290 gm/100 kg of feed, 4) Diet 1 plus high level of cinnamon extract (HCE) at 580 gm/ 100 kg of feed, 5) Diet 1 plus low level of thyme extract (LTE) at 290 gm/100kg of feed, and 6) Diet 6 plus high level of thyme extract (HTE) at 580 gm/100 kg of feed. No significant changes in body weight gain were observed with the cinnamon extracts compared to the NC or PC at 7, 14, or 21 d. The HTE reduced body weight gain compare to the NC and PC at 7, 14, and 21 d (P < 0.02). No difference in feed efficiency was observed with any of the treatments except LCE which reduced feed efficiency compared to other treatments. No difference in feed consumption was found among any of the treatments. These results suggest that cinnamon and thyme have antibacterial activity in vitro, and thyme has an activity that reduces body weight. Since cinnamon caused no significant change in body weight gain compared to positive or negative controls, it warrants further study as a substitute for antibiotics in the diet.

MIC., broiler, feed additives, antibacterial, medicinal plant extracts