Essential oils and their nanoemulsions as green alternatives to antibiotics in poultry nutrition: a comprehensive review

Mohamed E. Abd El-Hack, Mohamed T. El-Saadony, Ahmed M. Saad, Heba M. Salem, Noha M. Ashry, Mahmoud M. Abo Ghanima, Mustafa Shukry, Ayman A. Swelum, Ayman E. Taha, Amira M. El-Tahan, Synan F. AbuQamar, Khaled A. El-Tarabily

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


Increasing market pressure to reduce the use of antibiotics and the Veterinary Feed Directive of 2019 have led to expanded research on alternate antibiotic solutions. This review aimed to assess the benefits of using essential oils (EOs) and their nanoemulsions (NEs) as feed supplements for poultry and their potential use as antibiotic alternatives in organic poultry production. Antibiotics are commonly used to enhance the growth and prevent diseases in poultry animals due to their antimicrobial activities. EOs are a complex mixture of volatile compounds derived from plants and manufactured via various fermentation, extraction, and steam distillation methods. EOs are categorized into 2 groups of compounds: terpenes and phenylpropenes. Differences among various EOs depend on the source plant type, physical and chemical soil conditions, harvest time, plant maturity, drying technology used, storage conditions, and extraction time. EOs can be used for therapeutic purposes in various situations in broiler production as they possess antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, and antiviral activities. Several studies have been conducted using various combinations of EOs or crude extracts of their bioactive compounds to investigate their complexity and applications in organic poultry production. NEs are carrier systems that can be used to overcome the volatile nature of EOs, which is a major factor limiting their application. NEs are being progressively used to improve the bioavailability of the volatile lipophilic components of EOs. This review discusses the use of these nonantibiotic alternatives as antibiotics for poultry feed in organic poultry production.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101584
JournalPoultry science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • antibiotic alternatives
  • essential oils
  • nanoemulsions
  • organic poultry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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