Authors:V. Szott, B. Reichelt, T. Alter, A. Friese, and U. Roesler
Carvacrol, a primary constituent of plant essential oils (EOs), and its antimicrobial activity have been the subject of many in vitro studies. Due to an increasing demand for alternative antimicrobials and an emerging number of antibiotic resistant bacteria, the use of essential oils has played a major role in many recent approaches to reduce Campylobacter colonization in poultry before slaughter age. For that purpose, the reducing effect of carvacrol on Campylobacter jejuni prevalence in broilers was determined in vivo in an experimental broiler chicken model during an entire fattening period. Carvacrol was added to the feed in a concentration of 120 mg/kg feed four days post hatch until the end of the trial. In this study, we demonstrated a statistically significant decrease of C. jejuni counts by 1.17 decadic logarithm (log10) most probable number (MPN)/g in cloacal swabs during starter and grower periods (corresponding to a broilers age between 1 and 28 days). Similar results were observed for colon enumeration at the end of the trial where C. jejuni counts were significantly reduced by 1.25 log10 MPN/g. However, carvacrol did not successfully reduce Campylobacter cecal colonization in 33-day-old broilers.