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Title: Effects of Artemisia annua and Foeniculum vulgare on on chickens highly infected with Eimeria tenella (Phylum Apicomplexa)

item DRAGAN, LIVIU - Animal Health Service
item GYORKE, ADRIANA - University Of Agricultural Sciences And Veterinary Medicine - Romania
item Ferreira, Jorge
item POP, IOAN AUREL - Tirgu Mures Research Institute
item DUNCA, IOAN - Agency Of Reproduction In Animal Breeding Mures
item DRAGAN, MARIA - Animal Health Service
item MIRCEAN, VIORICA - University Of Agricultural Sciences And Veterinary Medicine - Romania
item DAN, IOSIF - Transapicola Srl
item COZMA, VASILE - University Of Agricultural Sciences And Veterinary Medicine - Romania

Submitted to: Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/5/2014
Publication Date: 4/15/2014
Citation: Dragan, L., Gyorke, A., Ferreira, J.F., Pop, I., Dunca, I., Dragan, M., Mircean, V., Dan, I., Cozma, V. 2014. Effects of Artemisia annua and Foeniculum vulgare on on chickens highly infected with Eimeria tenella (Phylum Apicomplexa). Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica. 56:22.

Interpretive Summary: Coccidiosis is a major economically-important protozoan disease in meat poultry systems, and is linked to the posterior infections by Salmonella spp., a pathogenic bacterium to animals and humans, of great concern to local and global food security. Currently, there is no natural alternative for either the prophylactic control or for treatment of coccidiosis caused by Eimeria spp. A floor-pen study was conducted to evaluate the anticoccidial effect of sweet Annie leaves and essential oil (EO) and of a combination of sweet Annie EO with fennel fruits EO on coccidia infection in chickens. The study was done with groups of chickens, each composed of 20 birds as follows: uninfected (negative control), infected and untreated (positive control), infected and treated with the anti-coccidian drug lasalocid (125g/tonne of feed), infected and treated with 1.5% sweet Annie leaves in the feed, infected and treated with a mixture (25%:25% for each oil + 50% of the surfactant Tween 20) of both fennel fruits EO and sweet Annie leaf EO (7.5% EO mixture in drinking water). The effects of the treatments on infected chickens was evaluated through clinical signs, mortality, parasite eggs excreted in feces, faeces and lesion score (in the gut), body weight gain and feed conversion. Comparison of the infected, untreated control group with the infected and treated groups resulted in: 1) clinical signs found on: 3/20 chickens in the lasalocid group, 6/20 in the group fed 1.5% sweet Annie leaves, 9/20 in the group given a mixture of sweet Annie and fennel EO, 19/20 chickens in the untreated control group; 2) bloody diarrhea found on 1/20 chickens treated with lasalocid, 2/20 chickens treated with sweet Annie, 5/20 in the group treated with the mixed EO, and 17/20 on the infected, untreated control group; 3) Mortality resulted for 7/20 of the infected, untreated chickens, but in no other group; 4) faeces score of the lesalocid and sweet Annie groups were the same (0.7) while the 5) lesion score of lasalocid-treated group was about half of that recorded from the sweet Annie-treated group (0.7 vs. 1.4), and lesion scores of the infected, untreated group was similar to that recorded for the group treated with themixed EO (3.2 vs. 2.8); 6) body weight gain (BWG), at the end of the study, of chickens in the uninfected group and the group treated with sweet Annie were similar (69.6 vs. 68.2 g/day), followed by the group treated with lasalocid (66.8g/day); 7) feed conversion of the infected group treated sweet Annie was the best (1.88 kg food/kg body weight) and comparable to the uninfected group (1.86 kg food/kg body weight). This research indicates that adding sweet Annie leaves to the feed can substantially reduce parasite fecal excretion of infected animals (consequently reducing paddock contamination levels), and leads to weight gain due to both the reduction of coccidia infection and clinical symptoms. Farmers can benefit from this natural anti-coccidia treatment, reduce their use of sythetic anti-parasitic drugs, and produce a safer and more acceptable poultry product to the consumer. This natural control of parasites also helps to meet the demands for food safety, while decreasing the environmental pollution by synthetic, inorganic, anti-parasitic drugs.

Technical Abstract: Background: Intensive poultry production systems depend on chemoprophylaxis with anticoccidial drugs to combat infection. A floor-pen study was conducted to evaluate the anticoccidial effect of Artemisia annua and Foeniculum vulgare on Eimeria tenella infection. Five experimental groups were established: negative control (untreated, unchallenged); positive control (untreated, challenged); a group medicated with 125 ppm lasalocid and challenged; a group medicated with A. annua leaf powder at 1.5% in feed and challenged; and a group treated with the mixed oils of A. annua and Foeniculum vulgare in equal parts, 7.5% in water and challenged. The effects of A. annua and oil extract of A. annua + F. vulgare on E. tenella infection were assessed by clinical signs, mortality, fecal oocyst output, faeces, lesion score, weight gain, and feed conversion. Results: Clinical signs were noticed only in three chickens from the lasalocid group, six from the A. annua group, and nine from the A. annua'+'F. vulgare group, but were present in 19 infected chickens from the positive control group. Bloody diarrhea was registered in only two chickens from A. annua group, but in 17 chickens from the positive control group. Mortality also occurred in the positive control group (7/20). Chickens treated with A. annua had a significant reduction in faecal oocysts (95.6%; P'='0.027) and in lesion score (56.3%; P'='0.005) when compared to the positive control. At the end of experiment, chickens treated with A. annua leaf powder had the highest body weight gain (68.2 g/day), after the negative control group, and the best feed conversion (1.85) among all experimental groups. Conclusions: Our results suggest that A. annua leaf powder (Aa-p), at 1.5% of the daily diet post-infection, can be a valuable alternative for synthetic coccidiostats, such as lasalocid.