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https://doi.org/10.5713/ab.21.0535    [Accepted] Published online April 29, 2022.
Effect of propolis supplementation and breed on growth performance, immunity, blood parameters and cecal microbiota in growing rabbits
Ibrahim Al-Homidan1  , Moataz Fathi1,2,*  , Magdy Abdelsalam1,3  , Tarek Ebied1,4  , Osama Abou-Emera1,5  , Mohamed Mostafa1,2  , Mohamed Abd El-Razik2  , Mohamed Shehab-El-Deen1,6 
1Department of Animal Production and Breeding, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Qassim University, Al-Qassim 51452, Saudi Arabia
2Department of Poultry Production, Faculty of Agriculture, Ain Shams University, Hadayek Shoubra 11241, Cairo, Egypt
3Department of Animal Production, Faculty of Agriculture, Alexandria University, El-Shatby, Alexandria 21545, Egypt
4Department of Poultry Production, Faculty of Agriculture, Kafrelsheikh University, Kafr El-Sheikh 33516, Egypt
5Animal Production Research Institute, Agriculture Research Center, Dokki 12618, Egypt
6Department of Animal Production, Faculty of Agriculture, Suez Canal University, Ismailia 41522, Egypt
Correspondence:  Moataz Fathi, Tel: +966-594067644, Fax: +966-63801360, Email: mmfathi@fulbrightmail.org
Received: 7 December 2021   • Revised: 7 February 2022   • Accepted: 9 March 2022
The present study was conducted to investigate the potential effects of dietary supplemented propolis in two growing rabbit breeds on growth performance, immune response, blood parameters, carcass characteristics, and cecal microflora composition.
A total of 90 growing rabbits aged 6 weeks from two breeds (V-line and Jabali) were randomly allocated to 3 dietary propolis experimental treatments. The experimental treatments consisted of a 2 × 3 factorial arrangement with two rabbit breeds and three levels of dietary propolis supplementation (0, 250 mg/kg, and 500 mg/kg). Each sub-treatment has 15 rabbits. The experimental period lasted six weeks.
There were no significant differences in growth performance and carcass characteristics due to propolis administration. Propolis supplementation at a high level significantly increased (linear; p < 0.05) cellular-mediated immunity compared with the unsupplemented group. Furthermore, the rabbits receiving propolis exhibited a significant increase (linear and quadratic; p < 0.03) in IgM immunoglobulins compared to the control. The current study provides further evidence that the dietary inclusion of propolis can significantly reduce pathogenic bacterial colonization in growing rabbits. The total count of microflora, E. coli, and Salmonella spp. was significantly lower (linear; p<0.01) in supplemented rabbit groups compared to the control group according to the microbiological analysis of cecal digesta. Based on breed effect, the results indicated that Jabali rabbits (local) performed better than V-line rabbits (foreign) in the majority of the studied traits.


Dietary propolis is promising for further investigation into improving intestinal health and enhancing immunity in growing rabbits.
Keywords: Cecal Microbiota; Immunity; Propolis; Rabbit Breed

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