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Dietary integration with oregano (Origanum vulgare L.) essential oil improves growth rate and oxidative status in outdoor‐reared, but not indoor‐reared, pigs

Forte, C., Ranucci, D., Beghelli, D., Branciari, R., Acuti, G., Todini, L., Cavallucci, C., Trabalza‐Marinucci, M.
Journal of animal physiology and animal nutrition 2017 v.101 no.5 pp. e352
Origanum vulgare, average daily gain, blood serum, body weight, consumer attitudes, diet, essential oils, farming systems, free range husbandry, growth performance, meat, oregano, oxidative stability, pH, pork quality, rearing, shear stress, swine
The effects of a diet supplemented with oregano essential oil on performance, oxidative status, pork quality traits and sensorial properties were evaluated. In two studies, 72 pigs in indoor or outdoor conditions were assigned to either a control diet or an identical diet supplemented with 0.2% oregano essential oil. Pigs reared outdoor showed lower live weight, average daily gain and average gain:feed ratio compared to indoor pigs. The oregano supplementation improved the growth performance of the outdoor‐ but not the indoor‐reared animals. The serum oxidative status was influenced by the diet. A higher oxidative stability was observed in the oregano‐supplemented groups. As for the rearing conditions, the data suggest that after an initial adapting period, the free‐range farming systems could be better tolerated by pigs. Meat derived from pigs reared outdoor showed higher pH and a* values. Lightness was influenced by both the diet and the rearing conditions. The control group reared indoor showed shear force values higher than both supplemented groups, while no differences were detected with the control group reared outdoor. In the consumer test performed under blind conditions, the oregano groups achieved higher consistency scores compared with the control. Under informed conditions, the meat derived from the oregano‐supplemented pigs reared outdoor received the highest scores for consistency and overall liking regardless of the rearing system. The same result for the overall liking score was obtained in the expectation test. The data obtained showed that dietary oregano essential oil can be effective in reducing performance losses due to the outdoor‐rearing system, increasing the oxidative status of the animal and oxidative stability of the meat, without modifying the meat quality traits and improving consumer perceptions of the meat quality.