Palliative effects of extra virgin olive oil, gallic acid, and lemongrass oil dietary supplementation on growth performance, digestibility, carcass traits, and antioxidant status of heat-stressed growing New Zealand White rabbits

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2017 Mar;24(7):6807-6818. doi: 10.1007/s11356-017-8396-8. Epub 2017 Jan 14.


This study explored the effects of supplemental dietary extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), gallic acid (GA), or lemongrass essential oil (LGEO) on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, carcass traits, lipid peroxidation, hematological, and antioxidative status in growing rabbits under heat stress conditions. A total of 48 male growing New Zealand White rabbits were randomly divided into four equal groups, which received a basal diet without any supplementation or supplemented with 15 g EVOO, 500 mg GA, or 400 mg LGEO/kg of diet, for eight consecutive weeks. Results revealed that the overall mean of temperature humidity index was 84.67 ± 0.35, reflecting a state of severe heat stress. Moreover, dietary supplementation with EVOO, GA, or LGEO significantly increased live body weight and daily body weight gain but decreased both feed conversion ratio and daily water consumption. Additionally, a significant increase in both organic matter and crude protein digestibility besides a remarkable elevation in the nutritive values of digestible crude protein, total digestible nutrients, and digestible energy, as well as an increase in the numbers of WBCs, lymphocytes, and heterophils was significant in EVOO-supplemented rabbits. Supplementation with EVOO, GA, or LGEO in the heat-stressed growing rabbit's diet enhanced catalase activity and reduced glutathione content, whereas EVOO-treated rabbits had the highest values. Also, malondialdehyde activity was reduced in response to all tested additives. In conclusion, these findings suggested that addition of EVOO, GA, or LGEO in growing rabbit's diet could be used effectively to alleviate negative impacts of heat stress load on performance, nutrient digestibility, oxidative status, and hemato-biochemical features. Furthermore, among these additives, EVOO achieved the best effects.

Keywords: Antioxidant status; Extra virgin olive oil; Gallic acid; Heat stress; Lemongrass essential oil; Nutrients digestibility; Rabbits.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animal Feed
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Body Weight
  • Diet
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Gallic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Heat-Shock Response / drug effects*
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Olea / metabolism
  • Olive Oil / administration & dosage*
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage
  • Rabbits
  • Terpenes / administration & dosage


  • Antioxidants
  • Olive Oil
  • Plant Oils
  • Terpenes
  • Malondialdehyde
  • lemongrass oil
  • Gallic Acid
  • Glutathione