Biochemical proximates of pumpkin (Cucurbitaeae spp.) and their beneficial effects on the general well-being of poultry species.
J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2017 Feb 3. Epub 2017 Feb 3. PMID: 28158900
M C Achilonu
There is a growing need to increase productivity in poultry. Growth hormones and antibiotics have the ability to improve health, weight gain and feed efficiency in meat-producing animals. The growth-promoting antibiotics are administered to poultry to improve the general performance of the chicken. However, the use of the xenobiotic drugs in food-producing animals has been a concern and a sensitive issue of debate for several decades in the EU and many other regional blocks of the world. Consequently, the use of hormones in animal production has been banned in Italy, Denmark and Germany for over 4-5 decades, while Belgium and Greece had never permitted its use for livestock fattening purposes. Bioactive phytochemicals exhibit antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiparasitic, antiprotozoal, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties and consequently have several beneficial effects on appetite, growth and the immune status of the animal. In South Africa, different species of pumpkin are produced for food due to their high nutrient content. The flesh serves as a traditional food, while the seeds and peels are commonly discarded. Pumpkin seed extract is reported to be useful for immunomodulation, reproductive health, therapeutics over a wide range of disease conditions and stimulates metabolism of accumulated fats. Studies have also shown that pumpkin seeds are a valuable source of protein and fat. Their complexity and extent of bioactivity offers sustainable prospects for natural control of pathogenic/parasitic organisms, stimulate nutrition or enhance resistance to disease infections, and reduce abdominal fat and serum levels of harmful lipids, while increasing serum levels of beneficial lipids.