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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Mechanism for Beneficial Action of Botanicals Defined


As sub-therapeutic administration of antibiotics has been replaced by Consumer-Acceptable Growth Promoters (CAPES), scientists continue to investigate the mode of action of alternative feed additives. There has been extensive research on probiotics including yeast cell-derived mannanoligosaccharides and probiotics including Lactobacillus spp. as to their effects on mucosal integrity and hence growth and feed conversion efficiency. In contrast the action of botanicals including oregano, ginger and others that are widely used appear to be accepted based on controlled studies and field experience without understanding the mode of action or the reason for variable results encountered.

A recent study* involving a mouse model has demonstrated the potential beneficial mechanism of extracts from ginger on intestinal integrity. A research group at the University of Louisville in Kentucky studied the action of dietary exosome-like nanoparticles (ELNs) from ginger that incorporate plant-microRNA. These ELNs are selectively absorbed by Lactobacillus present in the intestinal biome. The ELNs stimulate production of indole 3-carboxyaldehyde (13A). This compound released into the intestine induces aryl-hydroxycarbon receptors stimulating the release of interleukin-22. This cytokine is responsible for proliferation of enterocytes necessary to repair damaged mucosa.

The beneficial action of ginger-derived ELNs was demonstrated in mice subjected to intestinal insult following administration of a sodium sulfate dextran known to induce colitis. Mice in an experimental group treated with the dextran demonstrated restoration of mucosal integrity following inclusion of ginger-derived ELNs in their diet. In comparison untreated controls receiving "scrambled RNA" in the ginger-derived ELNs as well as mice in the positive control group showed typical colitis.

We are aware that commercially available botanicals incorporating oregano have a protective action against histomoniasis in turkey poults under field conditions. The molecular basis and mechanisms for the protective effect are unknown. The work conducted at the University of Louisville suggests a similar mechanism as that demonstrated in mice with induced colitis. What is now needed is a synthesis of studies on ELNs derived from oregano and other botanicals with established models for histomoniasis in turkeys, clostridial enterotoxemia in broilers and possibly focal duodenal necrosis in replacement pullets.

Understanding molecular mechanisms associated with the beneficial action of botanicals will lead to more specific procedures to extract and concentrate active ELNs, titration of bioactive components and developing synergistic combinations of botanical extracts and probiotics.

*Teng Yun et al. Plant-derived exosomal microRNAs shape the gut microbiota. Cell Host Microbe. 24:637-652. (2018)

Copyright 2019 Simon M. Shane