Botanical alternatives to antibiotics for use in organic poultry production

Poult Sci. 2015 Jun;94(6):1419-30. doi: 10.3382/ps/pev014. Epub 2015 Mar 5.


The development of antibiotic resistant pathogens has resulted from the use of sub-therapeutic concentrations of antibiotics delivered in poultry feed. Furthermore, there are a number of consumer concerns regarding the use of antibiotics in food animals including residue contamination of poultry products and antibiotic resistant bacterial pathogens. These issues have resulted in recommendations to reduce the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in livestock in the United States. Unlike conventional production, organic systems are not permitted to use antibiotics. Thus, both conventional and organic poultry production need alternative methods to improve growth and performance of poultry. Herbs, spices, and various other plant extracts are being evaluated as alternatives to antibiotics and some do have growth promoting effects, antimicrobial properties, and other health-related benefits. This review aims to provide an overview of herbs, spices, and plant extracts, currently defined as phytobiotics as potential feed additives.

Keywords: Campylobacter; Salmonella; botanicals; essential oils; extracts; phytobiotics; poultry.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis*
  • Animal Husbandry / methods*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / analysis*
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology
  • Diet / veterinary
  • Organic Agriculture / methods*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Poultry*
  • Spices / analysis*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Plant Extracts