Sage could protect young chickens against salmonella

By Sarah Guy, medwireNews Reporter

Adding sage extract to the diet of chickens has significant effects on biochemical markers of liver health, and reduces the hepatic Salmonella count, show study results.

Compared with chickens infected with Salmonella Enteritidis PT4 that received a basal diet (SE), those that were infected and received a basal diet including extract of Salvia officinalis L. (SSE) had decreased blood levels of alkaline phosphatase (ALP), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), glucose, and bilirubin after 4 days.

Furthermore, by 18 days after diet initiation, chickens in the SSE group had significantly lower Salmonella counts from the liver than those in the SE group, says the research team in Research in Veterinary Science.

Elena Piesova (University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy, Kosice, Slovakia) and colleagues conclude that these results "provide hope that [sage extract] could form the basis for alternative therapeutic or prophylactic agents in the control of Salmonella infections, especially at an early age in chickens."

The team randomly assigned 40 1-day-old chickens to one of four groups: basal diet (C), basal diet plus dry extract of sage (S), SE, and SSE. At 4 and 18 days after inoculation, five chickens from each group were euthanized and biochemical parameters measured. The weights of selected organs (liver, pancreas, spleen, gizzard) were also assessed.

By day 18, the blood plasma level of bilirubin was significantly higher in the SE group compared with the other groups, while ALP activity was inhibited in the SSE group compared with the SE group on day 4, but increased on day 18.

In addition, chickens in the SSE group had decreased ALT activity in comparison with those in the SE group at both 4 and 18 days postinoculation, while plasma glucose levels decreased on the fourth day in the SSE group compared with the SE group, but a slight elevation existed on day 18, remark Piesova et al.

The Salmonella count was significantly reduced in the livers of SSE chickens by day 18 compared with their SE counterparts. However, Salmonella had a "decreasing tendency" in all organs tested in the SSE versus SE groups at both time points, highlight the authors.

Mucus production had also reduced in the SSE chickens compared with their SE counterparts by day 18 of the study, specifically, by 33.5%, 25.0%, and 69.8% in the duodenum, jejunum, and cecum by day 4.

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