Document Type : Original Article


1 Animal Production Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt.

2 Livestock Research Department, Arid Land Cultivation Research Institute, City of Scientific Research and Technological Applications, Alexandria, Egypt.

3 Laboratório de Nutrição Animal, Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura, Universidade de São Paulo, Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil.


Propolis is a resinous substance collected by honeybees from buds and leaves of trees and plants, mixing with pollen as well as enzymes secreted by bees. Propolis is known to be active against gram positive bacteria, viruses, fungi, oxidants, inflammation, tumors, and parasites thus recently it have been considered among the natural feed alternative to antibiotics in ruminant diets. Propolis extracts were found to have a promising effect on decreasing energy lost as methane and total N losses, the most significant inefficiencies remaining in ruminant production systems that may limit production performance and contribute to the release of pollutants to the environment. However, these effects are divers among propolis types. In vitro, however alamo and green propolis were extracted with the same method, but alamo propolis presented a higher efficiency to reduce methane production than the green one and both of them had no effect on ammonia concentrations, gas production and ruminal degradability. Red and brown propolis extracted similarly had very different compositions and seemed to act in a similar way in modifying the ruminal degradation of nutrients and mitigating methane formation. In vivo studies involving ruminant metabolism, divers' effects of different propolis samples have been found on the total digestibility, ruminal digestibility, intestinal digestibility. However, similar effects were observed with the different propolis studies on reducing ammonia production and the number of ruminal ciliate protozoa in buffaloes and dairy cows, as well as in in viro trails. The inhibitory activity of different propolis samples were observed on both mature and immature hepatic worms, and intestinal eggs. Red propolis had good impact on general ewe health during critical periods such as flushing and found to have high efficacy against the gastro intestinal helminthiasis. Similar findings in growth performance in a study on feedlot lambs fed a diet supplemented with brown propolis, but the green propolis was not efficient. Often, in most studies, the type or the chemical composition of the propolis is not even specified in publications. The biological activity of propolis may vary, together with its chemical composition, as it comprises numerous constituents together with the method of extraction and concentrations of the solvent and propolis. Thus in order to ensure the propolis quality as feed additive and to be officially accepted by major health agencies, propolis requires a chemical standardization and  identify the active component(s) of propolis and subsequently analyze these in commercial batches.