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February 1, 2024 | by Sam Shafer
The extraction of plant oils from crops results in so-called “waste” products that can be repurposed as protein sources for animal agriculture, supporting the development of a circular economy and the world’s bio-economy sector.
In the Mediterranean region (as well as similar climates), the production of olive oil has increased, leading to large quantities of olive oil byproducts that may be suitable ingredients for poultry rations, according to a review article published recently in Poultry Science.
Olive oil has been widely used for human consumption and pharmaceutical uses and is associated with multiple health benefits credited to its phytochemical components. Certain olive oil byproducts, such as olive mill wastewater, also contain significant bioactive compounds with a wide range of physiological activities.
The authors reviewed the published literature on supplementation of broiler diets with olive oil and associated byproducts and noted their potential to enhance broilers’ growth performance, feed efficiency and health status. Also, feeding these products may help broilers manage thermal stress.
According to the paper, the beneficial biological activities of olive oil byproducts are attributed to bioactive components, including polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), triterpenic acids, tocopherols, phytosterols, squalene, dialcohols, pigments and polyphenols. Further, olive leaves are rich in phytochemical constituents with substantial biological functions, including antioxidant properties.
Specific to broiler growth performance, the authors noted that:
Dietary inclusion of olive oil or its byproducts also improved broiler meat attributes, including a reduction in lipid peroxidation and protein oxidation, due to the high ratio of MUFA/PUFA as well as the presence of phenolic antioxidant molecules in olive-derived feed ingredients.
Further, dietary olive oil may improve meat quality, promote lean tissue deposition, constrain lipid synthesis and escalate fatty acid oxidation, which could explain why dietary olive oil may decrease the fat content of broiler carcasses.
Another area that olive-derived products could enhance broiler chicken production is through reducing the adverse effects of thermal stress. Beneficial effects of olive leaf extract and its phenolic compounds have been found to reduce oxidative biomarkers, enhance immunity and improve antioxidant defense mechanisms, which are important in mitigating effects of thermal stress. While studies have shown potential for olive leaf extract as a tool for managing thermal stress in broilers, more research is needed to determine optimal dosage and timing of supplementation.
The authors noted a recent study that found the dietary inclusion of dried olive pulp during periods of thermal stress significantly improved broiler growth performance as well as having positive impacts on chicken well-being in terms of feather cleanliness and panting behavior.
What does this mean for producers?
The full paper, “Olive oil and its derivatives for promoting performance, health, and struggling thermal stress effects on broilers,” can be found in Poultry Science and online here.
Categories: Interpretive Summary