On a farm in Athens, Ga., Alali compared Mix-Oil to two organic acids traditionally used in the poultry industry to reduce the amount of salmonella the chickens carry. Currently farmers control salmonella in their flocks by administering vaccinations, "probiotics — a cocktail of good bacteria that compete with bad bacteria — and by adding acids to their drinking water," Alali said.
The right mix
"These extracts come from plant material, and they have antibacterial qualities. They have the ability to kill pathogens - we just have to come up with the right blend," Cristofori said.
The UGA study found the chickens that were fed Mix-Oil in their water had higher weight gains, a lower feed conversion rate and lower mortality rate. They also drank as much water as they did before the Mix-Oil regimen and more water than chickens that were given lactic acid to prevent salmonella.
"Chickens consume less water when one of the organic acids, lactic acid, is used because they don't like the taste of it," Alali said. "It can also inflame the chicken's intestines and, over time, it can damage the farm's water pipes."
Mix-oil reduced salmonella contamination in the chickens just "as well as lactic acid, and it improved the performance of the chickens," he said.
Salmonella typically collects in two chicken organs: the crop and the ceca. The crop is located at the base of the esophagus and the ceca is part of the large intestine.
Dowdy is a news editor with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.