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Hops could replace antibiotics for chickens

Humulus lupulus

H. Zell /  Wikimedia Commons

Extract of hop (Humulus lupulus), a plant used in beer production, could replace the antibiotics used to promote growth in chickens, according to a comparative study of 960 chickens carried out at the University of São Paulo (USP). Roasted breast fillets from chickens fed on feed mixed with hops for 42 days had the same color, consistency, and flavor as chickens fed on feed and antibiotics. Chemical analyses detected 95 volatile compounds, including those that relate to the quality of the meat, such as aldehydes and pyrazines. “The meat of the chickens supplemented with hop extract, especially at a concentration of 30 milligrams per kilogram of feed, contained a greater amount of antioxidants compared to the control group,” Stanislau Bogusz Junior, from the São Carlos Chemistry Institute (IQSC-USP), told Agência FAPESP. In the future, hops could potentially be used in chicken feed to prevent traces of antibiotics remaining in the meat, which is against export regulations (Processes, January 4).