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Oregano and sage essential oils improve antioxidant status of raw and cooked breast and thigh chicken meat
In vivo investigation of antioxidant constituents of oregano and sage on chicken breast and thigh meat


*Corresponding author
1 . Laboratory of Nutrition, School of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124, Thessaloniki, Greece
2. Department of Agricultural Production, Faculty of Agricultural Production, Food Technology and Nutrition, TEI of Epirus, Kostakioi Artas, 47100, Arta, Greece
3. Center for Research and Technology-HELLAS (CERTH), Institute for Research and Technology-Thessaly (IRETETH), Dimitriados 95 & P. Mela, 38333, Volos, Greece


In this study, the essential oil of oregano and salvia were used as a source of functional ingredients with antioxidant properties in chicken diet for 6 weeks; birds were fed a basal diet, or a basal diet supplemented with 500 or 1000 ppm extract that contained 5% oregano essential oil and 0,5% sage oil, respectively. Feed and water were offered to birds ad libitum. At the end of the trial, breast and thigh samples were taken for further analysis. Breast and thigh meat revealed no differences on moisture, fat and protein content among the three experimental groups. Results on oxidation showed that dietary oregano and sage oil at both supplementation levels improved antioxidant status compared to control diet, the effect being dose dependent. In conclusion, a combination of dietary oregano and sage exerted an antioxidant protective activity in both raw and cooked chicken breast and thigh meat.


Meat and its derivatives may be considered functional foods to the extent that they contain numerous compounds thought to be functional. The idea of using food for health purposes rather than for nutrition opens up a whole new field for the meat industry as well as for the animal industry.

Lipid oxidation is the major quality deterioration of meat flavor, color, texture and its nutritional value (1). Chicken meat is extremely prone to lipid oxidation and this situation can be further increased under certain environmental, physiological or dietary conditions (2). Several studies have documented the benefits of essential oil (EO) compounds on the performance of poultry (3-6).

Aromatic plants and their extracts have been used in animal nutrition, several decades ago (7). Despite the fact of this early use of aromatic plants and EOs or other extracts, knowledge regarding their modes of action and aspects of application are still rather rudimentary (3, 8-10). However, aromatic plants and their extracts are known to possess strong antimicrobial properties due to their phenolic diterpenes, flavonoids, tannins and phenolic acids. Ess ...

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