Supplementing the diet of broilers with 0.5% or 1% resveratrol for 42 days was associated with enhanced activities of antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) as well as fewer and less severe liver lesions, thereby boosting the overall health of the birds.
However, the researchers did report that resveratrol supplementation decreased feed intake, which they attributed to the ingredient’s flavor perhaps not being palatable to chickens.
“The deteriorative changes elicited in broilers in antioxidant and serum marker enzymes as well as histopathological changes due to aflatoxin could be circumvented by the use of resveratrol in feed,” wrote the researchers in the Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition.
“In spite of low consumption, the protective effect of resveratrol against aflatoxin-induced toxicity merits further studies on meat quality.
“As resveratrol possesses antioxidant property, its use as a feed additive in commercial broiler farms could offer protection to the broilers that are reported to be exposed to stress, a factor shown to affect their productivity and to control aflatoxicosis in poultry farms.”
Resveratrol, a powerful polyphenol and anti-fungal chemical, is often touted as the bioactive compound in grapes and red wine, and has particularly been associated with the so-called 'French Paradox'. The phrase, coined in 1992 by Dr Serge Renaud from Bordeaux University, describes the low incidence of heart disease and obesity among the French, despite their relatively high-fat diet and levels of wine consumption.
Interest in the compound exploded in 2003 when research from David Sinclair and his team from Harvard reported that resveratrol was able to increase the lifespan of yeast cells. The research, published in Nature, was greeted with international media fanfare and ignited flames of hope for an anti-ageing pill.
Other studies with only resveratrol have reported the potential health benefits in humans to be anti-cancer effects, anti-inflammatory effects, cardiovascular benefits, anti-diabetes potential, energy endurance enhancement, and protection against Alzheimer’s.
Despite intense interest in the health benefits of the antioxidant in humans, no studies have focused on the effects of resveratrol supplementation in broiler feeds, according to the authors of the new paper.
The Bangalore-based scientists randomized broiler birds to one of five groups: The first group received the basal diet only, the second group received the diet with aflatoxin B1 added (1 ppm), the third and fourth groups has the basal diets contaminated with aflatoxin B1 and supplemented with 0.5% and 1% resveratrol, respectively, while the final group received the basal diet with resveratrol only at the 1% level.
After 42 days of feeding the results showed that there were no differences in the feed conversion rate between the resveratrol and aflatoxin B1 groups.
The aflatoxin was associated with increases in activities of SOD and CAT, and these effects were enhanced in the resveratrol group, while plasma total antioxidant capacity (TAOC) and total protein (TP) were also significantly increased.
“The livers of AFB1 group showed degeneration of hepatocytes, bile duct hyperplasia and microgranuloma formation,” they wrote. “In resveratrol supplemented birds, the severity and degree of the liver lesions was far less.
“The inclusion of resveratrol in broiler diets enhanced antioxidant status of birds indicating the protective effect of resveratrol against AFB1-induced toxicity,” they added. “So, we advise use of resveratrol as a feed additive to control aflatoxicosis in poultry farms.”
Source: Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1111/jpn.12260
“Effect of dietary resveratrol in ameliorating aflatoxin B1-induced changes in broiler birds”
Authors: M. Sridhar, R. U. Suganthi and V. Thammiaha