In recent years, there has been increasing concern over the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in livestock production due to the possible emergence of multi-drug resistance, dangers of environmental pollution and toxic residue in animal products (Diarra and Malouin, 2014; Alagbe, 2019). Consumption of animal products (meat, milk and eggs) with residues of antibiotics can actually have a negative impact on human health (Oluwafemi et al., 2021). Plants produce primary and secondary metabolites which encompasses a whole array of function (Croteau, 2000). Primary metabolites include amino acids, carbohydrates, proteins and lipids, are compounds that are necessary for cellular processes (Chinelo and Ajunwa, 2017; Adewale et al., 2021). Secondary metabolites or phytochemicals include compounds with high therapeutic properties such as: alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, saponins, phenols, terpenoids and so on (Chiasson et al., 2001; Alagbe and Omokore, 2019).
The use of plant extract has been proven to help prevent the residual effect of synthetic chemicals, via the use of oil from plants. Essential oils (EOs), also called volatile odoriferous oil, are aromatic oily liquids extracted from different parts of plants, for example, leaves, peels, barks, flowers, buds, seeds, and so on (Windisch et al., 2008; Agubosi et al., 2021). EOs from plants can be extracted via several methods such as: steam distillation, soxhlet method, cold press expression and so on (Cassel and Vargas 2006; WHO, 2014).
Sunflower (Helianthus annus) oil has remarkable bactericidal properties as reported by Lezcono et al. (1998) in a preliminary study, and acts directly on the pathogenic micro-organism without causing damage. It is an oil-rich crop that is well-known for its nutraceutically important metabolites along with the taste and popularity of the oil (Ngibad, 2019).
Studies have revealed that sunflower seeds are rich nutrients and certain different phytochemicals such as antioxidants, flavonols, phenolic acids, procyanidins, phytosterols, amino acids, dietary fiber, potassium, arginine monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids which contribute to the improvement of human health (Alagawany et al., 2015; Islam et al., 2016). The presence of some essential amino acids such as aspartic acid, glutamic acid, serine, histidine, glycine, threonine, arginine, alanine, tyrosine, cysteine, valine, methionine, phenylalanine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, and proline in sunflower products has also been reported (Karangwa et al., 2015). The nutritional composition of sunflower seeds and oil has dictated their functional properties, also effective in preventing or controlling human diseases such as diabetes, cancers, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and coronary heart disease (Katsarou et al., 2015).
Sunflower oil possesses antitumor, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, skin-protective, anticancer, antimalarial, hypocholesterolemic, antihypertensive, analgesic, and antimicrobial activity and silent effects on muscles, nerves, and blood vessel (Zoumpoulakis et al., 2017) and the stem bark, roots and leaf extract has been used traditionally for the treatment of dysentery, cough, skin rashes, gastrointestinal disorders, diarrhea, sores, etc. (Mohiuddin, 2019).
In view of the abundant potential in Sunflower oil, this experiment was designed to determine the influence of dietary inclusion of sunflower (Helianthus annus) oil on the growth performance and oxidative status of broiler chicks.
Materials and methods
Site of the experiment
This study was carried out at the University of Abuja Teaching and research farm, University of Abuja, which is situated at Gwagwalada area council, F. C. T. Abuja, Nigeria. It falls between latitude 08° 51° and 09° 37°N and longitude of 70° 20° and 07° 51°E.
Collection of plant material and extraction of Sunflower oil
Helianthus annus seeds were collected within University of Abuja Teaching and Research Farm Abuja and authenticated at the Department of Crop Science, University of Abuja, Gwagawalada, Nigeria where a voucher specimen was deposited with a reference number HA/2ABJM. Seeds were sun dried for 8 days and pulverized into powder using laboratory grinder. 2000 grams of the powdered seeds was put into a porous thimble and placed in a Soxhlet extractor (GH-2A11 model, Punjab, India) using 300 ml of n-Hexane as extracting solvent for 2 hours until the required quantity was obtained, oil was kept in a well labeled container for further analysis.
Animal management and experimental procedure
150-1-day-old Arbor acre broiler chicks of mixed sex were obtained from a reputable commercial hatchery in Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria. Two weeks prior to the arrival of the birds, battery cage measuring (550 cm × 200 cm × 100 cm) (L×B×H) were thoroughly washed and disinfected. Birds were given anti-stress (Glucomol® at 10 g to 10 liters of water) and randomly assigned into 5 treatments (designated as T1, T2, T3, T4 and T5) with 3 replicates consisting of 10 birds each in a completely randomized design. Basal diet was formulated to meet the nutrient requirement of broilers according to Aduku (1994). Vaccination program was designed according to the prevailing disease condition of the environment and strict biosecurity measures was put in place (Table 1). Feed and water was provided ad libitum and the experiment lasted for 28 days.
Birds in T1 was fed basal diet with Oxytetracycline at 1.2 g/kg feed, T2, T3, T4 and T5 were fed basal diet with Sunflower oil (SFO) at 0.1, 0.2, 0.3 and 0.4 mls/kg feed.
Feed intake (g) was estimated from the difference between feed served and left over.
Body weight gain (g/bird) = final weight (g) – initial weight (g)
Average daily gain (ADG/bird) = Final body weight – Initial body weight Total days of the experiment
Average daily feed intake (ADFI/bird) = Total feed intake Total days of the experiment
Feed conversion ratio (FCR) = feed intake (g) ̸weight gain (g)
Mortality was recorded as it occurs.
Oxidative stress indices
On the 28th day of the experiment blood samples were collected via wing web from 6 randomly selected birds per treatment for oxidative stress analysis. Activities of superoxide dismutase (SDA), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), catalase (CAT) and malonyldialdehyde (MLA) were carried out using method outlined by Mahipal et al. (2015).
Proximate composition of the experimental diet was determined using procedures of AOAC (2000). Quantitative phytochemical determination (saponins, flavonoids, phenolics, alkaloids, steroids and terpenoids) was carried out according to the method outlined by Harbone (1973); Odebiyi and Sofowora (1978) and Boham and Kocipai (1974).
Data collected on performance and nutrient retention were subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA) using SAS statistical package, SAS (2000). The means were separated using Duncan multiple range test of the same software.
Results and discussion
Phytochemicals composition of Sunflower oil (SFO)
Table 3 reveals the phytochemicals composition of sunflower oil (SFO). The sample contains alkaloids (3.86 %), condensed tannins (0.96 %), hydrolysable tannins (9.87%), phenols (7.06 %), terpenoids (5.10 %), steroids (4.47 %), saponins (3.51 %) and flavonoids (10.60%). In order of abundance flavonoids > hydrolyzable tannins > phenols > terpenoids > steroids > alkaloids > saponins > condensed tannins respectively. The result obtained in this study is in conformity with the values recorded by Chinelo and Ujunwa (2017); Jumuna et al. (2014) and Labaran et al. (2016). Phytochemicals are natural bioactive compounds that are derived from plants and incorporated into livestock feed to enhance productivity (Gadde et al., 2017; Alagbe et al., 2022). They are also regarded as non-nutritive plant chemicals that have either defensive or degenerative protective properties (Prakash et al., 2012). For instance, flavonoids and phenols have been found to exhibit antiinflammatory, anti-allergic, antioxidant and antibacterial properties (Oluwafemi et al., 2021; Agubosi et al., 2021). Steriods and saponins are very key fertility agents in animals (Atamgba et al., 2015; Shittu and Alagbe, 2020). Alkaloids have been known to perform antibacterial, antispasmodic and analgesic properties (Ahmad et al., 2013). Tannins have been suggested to be involved with antibacterial and anti-viral activity while tannins and flavonoids are thought to be responsible for antidiarrheal activity (Enzo, 2007; Olafadehan et al., 2021). Terpenoids has high therapeutic value and function as antimicrobial, anticarcinogenic and anti-diuretic (Sittanikove et al., 2001).
Growth performance of broiler chicks fed different dietary inclusion of SFO
Table 4 shows the growth performance of broiler chicks fed different dietary inclusion of SFO. Inclusion levels of sunflower oil in the diets of broiler chicks had significant effect (P< 0.05) on the average body weight gain (WG), average daily weight gain (ADWG), average daily feed intake (ADFI) and feed conversion ratio (FCR). WG (486.26 – 538.01 g), ADWG (16.51 – 19.21 g), ADFI (39.31 – 40.00 g) and FCR (1.80 – 2.18). Broiler chicks fed SFO at 0.3, 0.4 and 0.5 mL/kg feed had similar body weight gain which is significantly higher than birds fed 0.1 ml of sunflower oil and the control. The higher final body weight observed among birds on 0.2, 0.3 and 0.4 mls of SFO could be attributed to the activities of phytochemicals which have been proven to stimulate functions of the intestinal tract to improve digestive secretions, nutrient absorption and metabolism (Alagbe and Oluwafemi, 2019).
The dietary inclusion of sunflower oil in broiler chicks also exerted a significant (P˂0.05) difference in the feed intake. It was observed that birds in T1 had the lowest feed intake when compared to the other groups. This is a clear indication that SFO is capable of improving the palatability of feed which further translates to efficient utilization of feed. The result obtained in this study is in agreement with the findings of Amad et al. (2011) but contrary to the reports of Halle et al. (2004) who recorded a numerical decrease in feed intake of birds fed a blend of thyme, star anise and oregano leaves and its associated essential oil
Birds fed 0.2, 0.3, and 0.4 mls of SFO had an excellent FCR when compared to the other groups (P< 0.05). This could be attributed to the mechanisms of stimulation of digestive enzyme secretion and the stabilization of the ecosystem of gut microflora, leading to improved feed utilization and less exposure to growth-depressing disorders associated with digestion and metabolism as reported by (Bento et al., 2013; Franz et al., 2010 and Kurekci et al., 2014) which is attributed to essential oil. The positive effects of essential oils on suppressing the activities of pathogenic microorganisms have been reported in many broiler studies due to the presence of bioactive compounds or phytochemicals (Oluwafemi et al., 2021; Alagbe and Akintayo, 2021). This explains the reason why no mortality was recorded among birds fed with SFO compared to the control.
Oxidative status of broiler chicks fed different levels of SFO
Oxidative status of broiler chicks fed different levels of SFO is presented in Table 5. Activities of superoxide dismutase (SDA), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), catalase (CAT) and malonyldialdehyde (MLA) values ranged from 23.00 – 34.12 (U/mg Hb), 18.93 – 29.12 (U/mg Hb), 54.21 – 63.88 (U/mg Hb) and 1.96 – 4.08 (U/mg Hb) respectively. SDA, GPx, CAT and MLA values were significantly (P˂0.05) influenced by the treatments. MLA, SDA, CAT and GPx values were highest in T1, intermediate in T2, T3 and lowest in T4 and T5 (P˂0.05). The values decreases as the level of SFO inclusion increases across the treatment. This shows that SFO is capable of scavenging free radicals, thus preventing diseases in the body of animals. The presence of bioactive compounds like flavonoids and phenols in SFO could help to further boost the immune system and prevent oxidative damage to biomolecules, superoxide anions and lipid peroxy radicals (Hollman, 2001; Alagbe et al., 2021). The result obtained is this study is in agreement with the findings of Oluwafemi et al. (2021).
Means in the same row with different superscripts differ significantly (P< 0.05); superoxide dismutase (SDA); glutathione peroxidase (GPx); catalase (CAT); malonyldialdehyde (MLA)
Sunflower oil contains several phytochemicals capable of promoting food safety without causing any side effect on continuous use and the dietary inclusion of essential oil at 0.4 ml/kg basal diet in broilers is capable of maintaining good health, suppressing the activities of pathogenic microorganisms and scavenging free radicals.
This article was originally published in Central Asian Journal of Medical and Natural Sciences, Volume: 02 Issue: 07 | Jan-Feb 2022 ISSN: 2660-4159. http://cajmns.centralasianstudies.org. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).