Agriculture and Food Systems - Research Publications

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    Growth Performance and Characterization of Meat Quality of Broiler Chickens Supplemented with Betaine and Antioxidants under Cyclic Heat Stress
    Shakeri, M ; Cottrell, JJ ; Wilkinson, S ; Le, HH ; Suleria, HAR ; Warner, RD ; Dunshea, FR (MDPI, 2019-09-01)
    Heat stress (HS) causes oxidative stress, which compromises broiler performance and meat quality. The aim of this study was to determine whether dietary antioxidants could be used as an amelioration strategy. Seventy-two day-old-male Ross-308 chicks were exposed to either thermoneutral or cyclical heat stress conditions. Diets were either control commercial diet (CON), CON plus betaine (BET), or with a combination of betaine, selenized yeast, and vitamin E (BET + AOX). Heat stress increased the rectal temperature (p < 0.001), respiration rate (p < 0.001), decreased blood pCO2 (p = 0.002), and increased blood pH (p = 0.02), which indicated the HS broilers had respiratory alkalosis. Final body weight was decreased by HS (p < 0.001), whereas it was improved with BET (p = 0.05). Heat stress reduced cooking loss (p = 0.007) and no effect on drip loss, while BET decreased the drip loss (p = 0.01). Heat stress reduced the myofibril fragmentation index (p < 0.001) and increased thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (p < 0.001), while these were improved with the combination of BET + AOX (p = 0.003). In conclusion, BET overall improved growth rates and product quality in this small university study, whereas some additional benefits were provided by AOX on product quality in both TN and HS broilers.