Effects of dietary supplementation of quercetin on performance, egg quality, cecal microflora populations, and antioxidant status in laying hens

Liu, H. N.; Liu, Y.; Hu, L. L.; Suo, Y. L.; Zhang, L.; Jin, F.; Feng, X. A.; Teng, N.; Li, Y.
February 2014
Poultry Science;Feb2014, Vol. 93 Issue 2, p347
Academic Journal
Plant polyphenols, especially flavonoids, are of great interest due to their wide range of biological activities. Quercetin, a ubiquitous flavonoid, is known to have antioxidant and antibacterial effects. In this study, we investigated the effect of quercetin on performance, egg quality, cecal microflora populations, and antioxidant status in laying hens. Two hundred forty 28-wk-old Hessian laying hens, with an average laying rate of lay 85% at the start, were randomly allotted to 4 treatments and fed 1 of 4 diets (negative control, 0.2, 0.4, and 0.6 g of quercetin/kg of diet) for 8 wk. Layer performance responses, egg quality parameters, cecal microflora populations and antioxidant status were measured at the end of the experiment. Results showed that feed conversion decreased as the quercetin level increased. Laying rate had a quadratic correlation with the level of quercetin (P = 0.056) and was maximized by the supplementation level of 0.2 g/kg of diet. However, no significant quercetin effect was observed on egg quality. Regression analysis showed that the population of total aerobes and coliforms decreased and the population of Bifidobacteria increased as the level of quercetin increased. Regression analysis also showed the activities of Cu-Zn-superoxide dismutase increased as the level of quercetin increased (P < 0.05). Results of the study suggest that the appropriate level of supplementation is 0.367 to 0.369 g of quercetin/kg of feed based on the improvement of laying rate (with 88.55 as maximum value) and feed conversion (with 2.0725 as minimum value). Our observations provided further evidence that dietary supplementation of quercetin improved performance by modulation of intestinal environment and liver superoxide dismutase content in laying hens. Quercetin has the potential as functional feed additive in animal production.


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