Submitted to: Experimental Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/13/2012
Publication Date: 6/5/2012
Citation: Yim, D., Kang, S.S., Kim, D.W., Kim, S.H., Lillehoj, H.S., Min, W. 2012. Protective effects of Aloe vera-based diets in Eimeria maxima-infected broiler chickens. Experimental Parasitology. 127:322-325. Interpretive Summary: Due to increasing concerns on the widespread use of antibiotics in animal production, there is much interest to identify and develop alternative disease control strategies to manage filed infections using natural products. In this research paper, ARS scientists collaborated with scientists from the Gyeongsang National University in South Korea to evaluate the dietary feeding of plant herbal product, aloe, as an alternative way to enhance innate immunity of poultry. Aloe plant was chosen for this study since Aloes have been widely used for a broad range of pharmacological activities, including parasitic problems. Avian coccidiosis is the most costly and wide-spread parasitic disease in the poultry industry, and has been mainly controlled by the use of chemotherapeutic agents. The results showed that the dietary feeding of young broiler chickens with Aloe vera-based diets was highly effective in reducing the parasite burden in the host when these bids were orally challenges with E. maxima. Furthermore, the Aloe vera-supplemented group showed significantly decreased intestinal lesions (p < 0.05) caused by Eimeria than the unsupplemented control group following infection. The findings of this study show scientific evidence for the use of Aloe vera as an alternative treatment for controlling avian parasitic infections.
Technical Abstract: Aloes have been widely used for a broad range of pharmacological activities, including parasitic problems. Avian coccidiosis is the most costly and wide-spread parasitic disease in the poultry industry, and has been mainly controlled by the use of chemotherapeutic agents. Due to the emergence of drug-resistant strains, alternative control strategies are needed. In this study, the protective effects of Aloe vera-based diets were assessed in broiler chickens following oral infection with E. maxima. Chickens were fed a regular diet supplemented with ground Aloe vera throughout the duration of the experiment beginning 2 days prior to infection with 1 × 104 sporulated oocysts of E. maxima. No significant differences were found in body weight gain or loss between the Aloe vera-supplemented and unsupplemented groups with or without E. maxima infections. Fecal oocyst shedding decreased signicantly (p < 0.05) in all of the treatment groups that were supplemented with Aloe vera as compared to the unsupplemented group. Furthermore, the Aloe vera-supplemented group showed significantly fewer intestinal lesions (p < 0.05) than the unsupplemented group following infection. The findings of this study suggest that Aloe vera could be used an alternative treatment for controlling avian coccidiosis.