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Combined effect of divergent selection for breast muscle ultimate pH and dietary amino acids on chicken performance, physical activity and meat quality

  • N. Alnahhas (a1), C. Berri (a1), M. Chabault-Dhuit (a1), M. Bourin (a2), C. Arnould (a3) and E. Le Bihan-Duval (a1)...


Responses to changes in dietary Lys and other essential amino acid (AA) concentrations were evaluated in 480 male and female broilers originating from two lines divergently selected for high (pHu+) or low (pHu−) ultimate pH (pHu) of breast muscle. The two genetic lines were fed with two grower isoenergetic diets differing in both true digestible Lys (control=10.2 g/kg and experimental=7.0 g/kg) and amounts of other essential AA calculated in relation to Lys, which were sufficient for the control diet or in excess for the experimental diet. There were six repetitions per treatment. Birds were weighed individually at days 0, 21, 28 and 43. Feed consumption was recorded per pen and feed conversion was calculated over the growing period. The physical activity and walking ability of broilers were recorded during the whole rearing period. Breast and leg yield, and abdominal fat percentage were measured at 43 days of age, as were pHu, color, drip and cooking loss, Warner–Bratzler shear force, and curing-cooking yield of the breast Pectoralis major and pHu of the thigh Sartorius muscle. Divergent selection greatly affected most breast meat quality traits without significantly changing growth rate or feed efficiency. When subjected to a variation in dietary intake of AA, birds from the two genotypes responded in a similar way in terms of animal’s growth, feed efficiency, body composition and meat quality traits. Although line and diet did not affect physical or feeding activities of the broilers, a significant effect of line-by-diet interaction was observed on gait score. Contrary to the pHu− birds, the walking ability of pHu+ birds was impaired when fed the control diet that favored growth and breast muscle development and limited storage of carbohydrate in muscle.


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