Yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) is a tea known to have beneficial effects on human health and antimicrobial activity against some foodborne pathogens. Thus, the application of yerba mate as a feed additive for broiler chickens to reduce Salmonella colonization was evaluated. The first in vitro evaluation was conducted by suspending Salmonella Enteritidis and lactic acid bacteria (LAB) in yerba mate extract. The in vivo evaluations were conducted using preventative and horizontal transmission experiments. In all experiments, day-of-hatch chicks were treated with one of the following 1) no treatment (control); 2) ground yerba mate in feed; 3) probiotic treatment (Lactobacillus acidophilus and Pediococcus; 9:1 administered once on day of hatch by gavage); or 4) both yerba mate and probiotic treatments. At d 3, all chicks were challenged with Salmonella Enteritidis (preventative experiment) or 5 of 20 chicks (horizontal transmission experiment). At d 10, all birds were euthanized, weighed, and cecal contents enumerated for Salmonella. For the in vitro evaluation, antimicrobial activity was observed against Salmonella and the same treatment enhanced growth of LAB. For in vivo evaluations, none of the yerba mate treatments significantly reduced Salmonella Enteritidis colonization, whereas the probiotic treatment significantly reduced Salmonella colonization in the horizontal transmission experiment. Yerba mate decreased chicken BW and decreased the performance of the probiotic treatment when used in combination. In conclusion, yerba mate had antimicrobial activity against foodborne pathogens and enhanced the growth of LAB in vitro, but in vivo yerba mate did not decrease Salmonella Enteritidis colonization.
Keywords: Salmonella; feed additive; probiotic; yerba mate.