Effects of Resveratrol and Essential Oils on Growth Performance, Immunity, Digestibility and Fecal Microbial Shedding in Challenged Piglets

  • Ahmed, S.T. (Department of Animal Science and Technology, Sunchon National University) ;
  • Hossain, M.E. (Department of Poultry Science, Bangladesh Agricultural University) ;
  • Kim, G.M. (Department of Animal Science and Technology, Sunchon National University) ;
  • Hwang, J.A. (Department of Animal Science and Technology, Sunchon National University) ;
  • Ji, H. (Department of Animal Science and Technology, Sunchon National University) ;
  • Yang, C.J. (Department of Animal Science and Technology, Sunchon National University)
  • Received : 2012.12.11
  • Accepted : 2013.02.18
  • Published : 2013.05.01


A study was conducted to evaluate the effects of resveratrol and essential oils from medicinal plants on the growth performance, immunity, digestibility, and fecal microbial shedding of weaned piglets. A total of 48 weaned piglets (8 kg initial weight, 28-d-old) were randomly allotted to four dietary treatments with 3 replications of 4 piglets each. The dietary treatments were NC (negative control; basal diet), PC (positive control; basal diet+0.002% apramycin), T1 (basal diet+0.2% resveratrol), and T2 (basal diet+0.0125% essential oil blend). All piglets were orally challenged with 5 ml culture fluid containing $2.3{\times}10^8$ cfu/ml of Escherichia coli KCTC 2571 and $5.9{\times}10^8$ cfu/ml Salmonella enterica serover Typhimurium. The PC group (p<0.05) showed the highest average daily gain (ADG) and average daily feed intake (ADFI) throughout the experimental period, although feed conversion ratio (FCR) was improved in the T1 group (p>0.05). Serum IgG level was increased in the T1 group, whereas TNF-${\alpha}$ levels was reduced in the supplemented groups compared to control (p<0.05). The PC diet improved the dry matter (DM) digestibility, whereas PC and T2 diets improved nitrogen (N) digestibility compared to NC and T1 diets (p<0.05). Fecal Salmonella and E. coli counts were reduced in all treatment groups compared to control (p<0.05). Fecal Lactobacillus spp. count was increased in the T2 group compared to others (p<0.05). Dietary treatments had no significant effect on fecal Bacillus spp. count throughout the entire experimental period. Based on these results, resveratrol showed strong potential as antibiotic alternatives for reversing the adverse effects of weaning stress on growth performance, immunity and microbial environment in E. coli and Salmonella-challenged piglets.


  1. Zhou, J. S., C. J. Pillidge, P. K. Gopal and H. S. Gill. 2005. Antibiotic susceptibility profiles of new probiotic Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains. Int. J. Food Microbiol. 98:211-217.
  2. Namkung, H., M. Li, J. Gong, H. Yu, M. Cottrill and C. F. M. de Lange. 2004. Impact of feeding blends of organic acids and herbal extracts on growth performance, gut microbiota and digestive function in newly weaned pigs. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 84:697-704.
  3. NRC (National Research Council). 1998. Nutrient requirement of Swine. 10th Ed. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, USA.
  4. Nimmerjahn, F. and J. V. Ravetch. 2010. Antibody-mediated modulation of immune responses. Immunol. Rev. 236:265-275.
  5. Oetting, L. L., C. E. Utiyama, P. A. Giani, U. D. Ruiz and V. S. Miyada. 2006. Effects of herbal extracts and antimicrobials on apparent digestibility, performance, organs morphometry and intestinal histology of weanling pigs. Braz. J. Anim. Sci. 35:1389-1397.
  6. Paulo, L., S. Ferreira, E. Gallardo, J. A. Queiroz and F. Domingues. 2010. Antimicrobial activity and effects of resveratrol on human pathogenic bacteria. World J. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 26:1533-1538.
  7. Regulation (EC) No 1831/2003. 2003. Regulation (EC) No 1831/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 September 2003 on additives for use in animal nutrition. Official Journal of the European Union L268:29-43.
  8. Rugbjerg, H., A. Wingstrand, T. Hald, J. S. Andersen, D. M. Lo Fo Wong and H. Korsgaard. 2004. Estimating the number of undetected multi-resistant Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 infected pig herds in Denmark. Prev. Vet. Med. 65:147-171.
  9. SAS Institute Inc. 2003. SAS/STAT User's Guide. 9.1 Edition, SAS Institute Inc., Cary, North Carolina, USA.
  10. Si, W., J. Gong, R. Tsao, T. Zhou, H. Yu, C. Poppe, R. Johnson and Z. Du. 2006. Antimicrobial activity of essential oils and structurally related food additives towards selected pathogenic and beneficial gut bacteria. J. Appl. Microbiol. 100:296-305.
  11. Spurlock, M. E. 1997. Regulation of metabolism and growth during immune challenge: an overview of cytokine function. J. Anim. Sci. 75:1773-1783.
  12. Stoni, A., K. Zitterl-Egelseer, A. Kroismayr, W. Wetscherek and W. Windisch. 2006. Tissue recovery of essential oils used as feed additive in piglet feeding and impact on nutrient digestibility. Proc. Soc. Nutr. Physiol. 15:60.
  13. Trevisi, P., G. Merialdi, M. Mazzoni, L. Casini, C. Tittarelli, S. De Filippi, L. Minieri, G. Lalatta-Costerbosa and P. Bosi. 2007. Effect of dietary addition of thymol on growth, salivary and gastric function, immune response, and excretion of Salmonella enteric serovar Typhimurium, in weaning pigs challenged with this microbe strain. Ital. J. Anim. Sci. 6:374-376.
  14. Viveros, A., S. Chamorro, M. Pizarro, I. Arija, C. Centeno and A. Brenes. 2011. Effects of dietary polyphenol-rich grape products on intestinal microflora and gut morphology in broiler chicks. Poult. Sci. 90:566-578.
  15. Wellock, I. J., P. D. Fortomaris, J. G. Houdijk and I. Kyriazakis. 2008. Effects of dietary protein supply, weaning age and experimental enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli infection on newly weaned pigs: health. Animal 2:834-842.
  16. Falaki, M., M. Shams Shargh, B. Dastar, S. Zerehdaran and M. Khomairi. 2010. The investigation of intestinal microflora and growth response of young broilers given feed supplemented with different levels of probiotic and prebiotic. J. Anim. Vet. Adv. 9:2685-2690.
  17. FDA. 2004. Food and Drug Administration of the US, 21 CFR 184. Online. Available at:
  18. Gaggia, F., P. Mattarelli and B. Biavati. 2010. Probiotics and prebiotics in animal feeding for safe food production. Int. J. Food Microbiol. 141 (Suppl 1):S15-S28.
  19. Hernandez, F., J. Madrid, V. Garcia, J. Orengo and M. D. Megias. 2004. Influence of two plant extract on broiler performance, digestibility, and digestive organ size. Poult. Sci. 83:169-174.
  20. Huang, Y., J. S. Yoo, H. J. Kim, Y. Wang, Y. J. Chen, J. H. Cho and I. H. Kim. 2010. Effects of dietary supplementation with blended essential oils on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, blood profiles and fecal characteristics in weanling pigs. Asian Australas. J. Anim. Sci. 23:607-613.
  21. Hughes, R. J., J. D. Brooker and C. Smyl. 2005. Growth rate of broiler chickens given condensed tannins extracted from grape seed. In: Proceedings of the 17th Annual Australian Poultry Science Symphosium, Poultry Research Foundation, University of Sidney, Australia. Vol. 17:65-68.
  22. Jugl-Chizzola, M., E. Ungerhofer, C. Gabler, W. Hagmuller, R. Chiz-zola, K. Zitterl-Eglseer and C. Franz. 2006. Testing of the palatability of Thymus vulgaris L. and Origanum vulgare L. as flavouring feed additive for weaner pigs on the basis of a choice experiment. Berl. Munch. Tierarztl. Wochenschr. 119:238-243.
  23. Kroismayr, A., K. Schedle, J. Sehm, M. W. Pfaffl, C. Plitzner, H. Foissy, T. Ettle, H. Mayer, M. Schreiner and W. Windisch. 2008. Effects of antimicrobial feed additives on gut microbiology and blood parameters of weaned piglets. Die Bodenkultur 59:111-120.
  24. Kommera, S. K., R. D. Mateo, F. J. Neher and S. W. Kim. 2006. Phytobiotics and organic acids as potential alternatives to the use of antibiotics in nursery pig diets. Asian Australas. J. Anim. Sci. 19:1784-1789.
  25. Kohlert, C., I. Van Rensen, R. Marz, G. Schindler, E. U. Graefe and M. Veit. 2000. Bioavailability and pharmokinetics of natural volatile terpenes in animal and humans. Planta Medica 66:495-505.
  26. Lin, C. M., J. F. Preston and C. Wei. 2000. Antibacterial mechanism of allyl isothiocyanate. J. Food Prot. 63:727-734.
  27. Liu, H. S ., C. E. Pan , W. Yang and X. M. Liu . 2003. Antitumor and immunomodulatory activity of resveratrol on experimentally implanted tumor of H22 in Balb/c mice. World J. Gastroenterol. 9:1474-1476.
  28. Manzanilla, E. G., J. F. Perez, M. Martin, C. Kamel, F. Baucells and J. Gasa. 2004. Effect of plant extracts and formic acid on the intestinal equilibrium of early-weaned pigs. J. Anim. Sci. 82:3210-3218.
  29. Alexandre, D. P., B. Stephane and A. Fabienne. 2010. Resveratrol suppresses body mass gain in a seasonal non-human primate model of obesity. BMC Physiol. 10:11. Available at:
  30. AOAC. 2000. Official methods of analysis. 17th edn. Association of Official Analytical Chemists, Washington, DC.
  31. Balaji, R., K. J. Wright, C. M. Hill, S. S. Dritz, E. L. Knoppel and J. E. Minton. 2000. Acute phase responses of pigs challenged orally with Salmonella typhimurium. J. Anim. Sci. 78:1885-1891.
  32. Baur, J. A., K. J. Pearson, N. L. Price, et al. 2006. Resveratrol improves health and survival of mice on a high calorie diet. Nature 444:337-342.
  33. Bhandari, S. K., B. Xu, C. M. Nyachoti, D. W. Giesting and D. O. Krause. 2008. Evaluation of alternatives to antibiotics using an Escherichia coli K88+ model of piglet diarrhea: effects on gut microbial ecology. J. Anim. Sci. 86:836-847.
  34. Castillo, M., S. M. Martin-Orue , M. Roca, E. G. Manzanilla, I. Badiola, J. F. Perez and J. Gasa. 2006. The response of gastrointestinal microbiota to avilamycin, butyrate, and plant extracts in early-weaned pigs. J. Anim. Sci. 84:2725-2734.
  35. Chang, C. P., J. Y. Chang, F. Y. Wang and J. G. Chang. 1995. The effect of Chinese medicinal herb Zingiberis rhizoma extract on cytokine secretion by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. J. Ethnopharmacol. 48:13-19.
  36. Cho, J. H., Y. J. Chen, B. J. Min, H. J. Kim, O. S. Kwon, K. S. Shon, I. H. Kim, S. J. Kim and A. Asamer. 2006. Effect of essential oils supplementation on growth performance, IgG concentration and fecal noxious gas concentration of weaned pigs. Asian Australas. J. Anim. Sci. 19:80-85.
  37. Close, W. H. 2002. Premier Pig Program Manual. Alltech Inc., Melbourne, Australia. pp. 6.4-1.
  38. Cromwell, G. L. 1991. Antimicrobial agents. In: Swine Nutrition (Ed. E. R. Miller, D. E. Ullrey and A. J. Lewis). Butterworth-Heinemann, Stoneham, Massachusetts. pp. 297-314.
  39. Cromwell, G. L. 2001. Antimicrobial and promicrobial agents. In: Swine Nutrition (Ed. A. J. Lewis and L. L. Southern). Butterworth-Heinemann, Stoneham, Massachusetts. pp. 405-412.
  40. De Souza, E. L., T. L. M. Stamford, E. D. O. Lima, J. M. Barbosa Filho and M. O. M. Marques. 2008. Interference of heating on the antimicrobial activity and chemical composition of Origanum vulgare L. (Lamiaceae) essential oil. Cienc. Tecnol. Aliment. 28:418-422.
  41. Dinarello, C. A. 1988. Biology of interleukin 1. FASEB J. 2:108-115.
  42. Duncan, D. B. 1955. Multiple range and multiple F test. Biometrics 11:1-42.

Cited by

  1. Evaluation of fermented Alisma canaliculatum with probiotics as potential feed additives for finishing Hanwoo (Bos taurus coreanae) steers vol.54, pp.8, 2014,
  2. Effect of dietary supplementation with resveratrol on nutrient digestibility, methanogenesis and ruminal microbial flora in sheep vol.99, pp.4, 2014,
  3. A Comparison of Diets Supplemented with a Feed Additive Containing Organic Acids, Cinnamaldehyde and a Permeabilizing Complex, or Zinc Oxide, on Post-Weaning Diarrhoea, Selected Bacterial Populations, Blood Measures and Performance in Weaned Pigs Experimentally Infected with Enterotoxigenic E. coli vol.5, pp.4, 2015,
  4. Enrichment of Animal Diets with Essential Oils—A Great Perspective on Improving Animal Performance and Quality Characteristics of the Derived Products vol.4, pp.2, 2017,
  5. Effects of dietary supplementation of cinnamaldehyde and formic acid on growth performance, intestinal microbiota and immune response in broiler chickens vol.57, pp.5, 2017,
  6. Effects of dietary supplementation of resveratrol on performance, egg quality, yolk cholesterol and antioxidant enzyme activity of laying hens vol.58, pp.5, 2017,
  7. Dietary inclusion effects of phytochemicals as growth promoters in animal production vol.59, pp.1, 2017,
  8. Alternatives to antibiotics in poultry feed: molecular perspectives pp.1549-7828, 2017,
  9. Arthrospira (Spirulina) platensis supplementation affects folliculogenesis, progesterone and ghrelin levels in fattening pre-pubertal gilts pp.1573-5176, 2017,
  10. Addition of phytogenic blend in different nutrient density diets of meat-type ducks vol.46, pp.1, 2018,
  11. Effect of Resveratrol Dry Suspension on Immune Function of Piglets vol.2018, pp.1741-4288, 2018,
  12. Essential Oils as Feed Additives—Future Perspectives vol.23, pp.7, 2018,
  13. Alternatives to antibiotics as growth promoters for use in swine production: a review vol.4, pp.1, 2013,