Benefits of thymol supplementation on performance, the hepatic antioxidant system, and energetic metabolism in grass carp

  • Monique B. Morselli
  • João H. Reis
  • Matheus D. Baldissera
  • Carine F. Souza
  • Bernardo Baldisserotto
  • Tiago G. Petrolli
  • Diovani Paiano
  • Diogo L. A. Lopes
  • Aleksandro S. Da SilvaEmail author


Thymol is an herbal food additive used to improve animal performance. Thymol acts via its potential to enhance productive and reproductive performance, and by improving bioavailability of nutrients in fish. Nevertheless, the exact mechanisms associated with these phenomena remain poorly understood, although recent evidence has suggested the involvement of the phosphotransfer network and antioxidant status. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine whether the improvement of the antioxidant/oxidant status and the phosphoryl transfer network may be involved in enhanced growth performance in grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) fed with various levels of thymol (100, 200, and 300 mg/kg feed). Thymol-supplementation (100 mg/kg feed) produced higher body weight and weight gain for 60-day post-feeding compared to the control group. Specific growth rate was higher; while feed conversion ratio was lower in fish that consumed 100 mg of thymol/kg compared to other groups. Hepatic lactate dehydrogenase activity and lipid peroxidation levels were lower in the thymol-supplemented group (100 mg/kg feed) than in the control group, while reactive oxygen species were lower in all supplemented groups than in the control group. Hepatic superoxide dismutase (300 mg/kg feed) and glutathione peroxidase (100, 200, and 300 mg/kg feed) activities, as well as antioxidant capacity against peroxyl radicals (100 mg/kg feed) were higher in these groups than in the control group. Based on these data, we conclude that 100 mg thymol/kg dietary supplementation increased growth performance of fingerling grass carp. Finally, hepatic adenylate kinase activity was lower in the thymol supplemented group (100 mg/kg feed) than in the control group. Thymol supplementation (100 mg/kg feed) improved hepatic energy metabolism, while practically all tested concentrations of thymol enhanced hepatic antioxidant status, all of which may be pathways involved in increased growth performance in fingerling grass carp.


Phosphoryl transfer network Aquaculture Fish performance Free radicals 


Statement: expects data

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

Funding information

CAPES and CNPq financially supported the scholarship and research (PQ).

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethics committee

These experiments were approved by the Animal Welfare Committee of the State University of Santa Catarina (UDESC) under protocol number 8817050418.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monique B. Morselli
    • 1
  • João H. Reis
    • 1
  • Matheus D. Baldissera
    • 2
  • Carine F. Souza
    • 2
  • Bernardo Baldisserotto
    • 2
  • Tiago G. Petrolli
    • 3
  • Diovani Paiano
    • 1
  • Diogo L. A. Lopes
    • 1
  • Aleksandro S. Da Silva
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Graduate Program in Animal ScienceUniversidade do Estado de Santa CatarinaChapecóBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Physiology and PharmacologyUniversidade Federal de Santa MariaSanta MariaBrazil
  3. 3.Graduate Program in Animal Health and Production in Small FarmsUniversidade do Oeste de Santa CatarinaXanxerêBrazil

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