Vasiliki Moulasioti



Abstract Title:
    Antioxidant status, growth performance and meat quality in chickens raised under conventional and alternative commercial production systems

    Evgenia Fotou1, Maria Papadami2, Constantinos Tellis3, Dimitra Kyriakou4, Apostolos Patsias5, Vassilios Moussis6, Maria-Eleni Boti7, Ioannis Sarrigeorgiou8, Peggy Lymberi9, Vassilios Tsikaris10, Demokritos Tsoukatos11, Vasiliki Moulasioti12, Vasileios Tsiouris13

    1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12 Department of Chemistry, Section of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece
5, 13 Microbiology and Chemical Laboratory, Pindos APSI, Ioannina, Greece

8, 9 Immunology Laboratory, Immunology Department, Hellenic Pasteur Institute, Athens, Greece

Abstract text:

    Consumers’ increasing demand for chicken meat has led industries to intensive rearing systems, which are related to several stressors for the birds. Fast-growing chickens often present health problems and poor performance, resulting in lower nutritional value products. Moreover, increasing awareness on animal welfare leads the poultry industry to alternative rearing systems, using slow-growing breeds and plant extracts as health and growth promoters. This study investigates the antioxidant status, growth performance and meat quality of three commercial production systems. System 1: 45.000 conventional (C) chicken (Ross 308, stocking density: 15 birds/m2), system 2: 6.000 free-range (FR) (Sasso, stocking density: 13 birds/m2 and 1 bird/m2 of forage paddock), system 3: 3.000 free-range chickens fed with plant extracts (FRP) (Sasso, stocking density: 13 birds/m2 and 1 bird/m2 of forage paddock). Special diets were designed for each system, age period and genotype. Antioxidant status was evaluated by total antioxidant capacity (TAC) and Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances (TBARS) assays in plasma and muscle tissue, while the concentration of α-tocopherol was measured in plasma. Performance was assessed by recording the mortality, body weight (BW) and Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR). Standard protocols were used for the meat chemical analysis. Organoleptic properties were estimated by 8 testers in roasted thighs. Results in C vs FR chickens have shown that FR chickens presented lower lipid peroxidation (p<0,05) and TAC (p<0,05), whereas α-tocopherol levels didn’t present significant difference (p>0,05). Growth performance showed that FR chickens displayed higher FCR, lower mortality and BW. The chemical analysis resulted in higher protein and lower fat content, moisture and water holding capacity (WHC) for the FR group. Ash and pH were similar for the two groups. Moreover, organoleptic evaluation was overall better in the FR chickens. Results in FR vs FRP chickens revealed that the FRP group presented higher TBARS (p<0,05) but increased TAC in plasma (p<0,05), while in muscle tissue, both TBARS and TAC had no significant difference (p>0,05). Also, α-tocopherol levels presented no significant difference between the groups (p>0,05). Growth performance and chemical analysis showed that the FRP group presented higher FCR, mortality, and BW, higher protein content, while the fat content, moisture, ash, pH, and WHC were similar for both groups. Organoleptic characteristics were slightly better for the FRP group. Concluding, this research presents that the free-range system improves growth performance, enhances meat quality, and provides better organoleptic characteristics. In addition, plant extracts in FR chickens may enhance their health, performance, and meat quality.


    industrial production; oxidative stress; meat quality; plant extracts;fast-growing chickens; slow-growing chickens

Session Slot: