Natural products as functional food ingredients for Nile tilapia challenged with Aeromonas hydrophila

  • Samira Teixeira Leal de Oliveira
  • Riani Ananda Nunes Soares
  • Sília Maria de Negreiros Sousa
  • Antônio Wilton Cavalcante Fernandes
  • Gisele Veneroni GouveiaEmail author
  • Mateus Matiuzzi da Costa


Functional foods employ ingredients whose purpose is not necessarily to supply a possible nutritional deficiency, but rather to offer benefits to human and animal health. In this context, the present study aimed to investigate the use of oregano essential oil (OEO) and ethanolic extract of propolis (EEP) as functional foods for Nile tilapia challenged with Aeromonas hydrophila. Healthy fingerlings (7.67 ± 0.86 g of mean initial weight) distributed in 60-L aquariums were used in the experiment, maintaining good water quality. The treatments consisted of 2.22 g of EEP kg feed−1 (treatment 2), 0.5% OEO feed−1 (treatment 3), and one control feed (treatment 1), with seven replications. After 30 days of feeding, the animals were subjected to sanitary challenges and observed for 15 days. Zootechnical, survival, and immunological parameters were analyzed, and the variability of intestinal microorganisms was evaluated through denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). The results of this study showed that tilapia fed with feed containing OEO or EEP significantly improved growth parameters compared with the control group, obtaining respective mean values for the control treatment, EEP and OEO: final weight (20.38 ± 1.6b; 23.15 ± 2.07a; 24.31 ± 1.43a), weight gain (12.66 ± 1.67b; 15.5 ± 2.04a; 16.65 ± 1.45a), and body condition (1.66 ± 0.06b; 1.8 ± 0.12a; 1.82 ± 0.11 The). In addition, the addition of OEO effectively improved carcass traits as well as apparent feed conversion (1.91 ± 0.19b; 1.69 ± 0.22ab; 1.45 ± 0.22a) and feed efficiency (0.56 ± 0.05b; 0.63 ± 0.07ab; 0.73 ± 0.13a) compared with the control group (P < 0.05). The two natural additives showed no significant effect on fish immunity, survival parameters after challenge, and hepatosomatic index. However, they presented an effect as growth promoters and on the intestinal microbiome; in the latter, there was an increase in diversity when compared with the control group. It may be concluded that OEO and EEP natural additives can act as growth promoters.


Bacterial challenge Extract of propolis Fish farming Feed additives Microbiome Oregano essential oil 



Ethics Committee on Animal Use


Integrated Center for Fishery Resources and Aquaculture


Ethanolic extract of propolis


Oregano essential oil


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The present experiment was conducted according to protocol no. 0006/160812, approved by the Ethics Committee on Animal Use of the Federal University of São Francisco Valley - CEUA/UNIVASF, January 2013.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samira Teixeira Leal de Oliveira
    • 1
  • Riani Ananda Nunes Soares
    • 2
  • Sília Maria de Negreiros Sousa
    • 3
  • Antônio Wilton Cavalcante Fernandes
    • 4
  • Gisele Veneroni Gouveia
    • 5
    Email author
  • Mateus Matiuzzi da Costa
    • 5
  1. 1.Tropical Animal ScienceUFRPERecifeBrazil
  2. 2.Biological SciencesUNIVASFPetrolinaBrazil
  3. 3.Animal ScienceUNIVASFPetrolinaBrazil
  4. 4.RENORBIORecifeBrazil
  5. 5.Campus de Ciências Agrárias, Colegiado de ZootecniaUniversidade Federal do Vale do São FranciscoPetrolinaBrazil

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