Effects of dietary butyrate supplementation and crude protein level on carcass traits and meat composition of broiler chickens
The short-chain fatty acid butyrate, either in unprotected or protected form, is widely applied as a growth-promoting feed additive in poultry nutrition; however, its possible effects on the carcass composition of broilers have not been fully elucidated. Further, lowering dietary crude protein (CP) levels is an important issue in poultry farming, contributing to ecologically beneficial lower nitrogen excretion. The main aims of this study were to test how unprotected and protected forms of butyrate and decreased dietary CP content with essential amino acid (lysine, methionine, threonine, tryptophan) supplementation (“LP-EAA” diet) affect carcass parameters and the chemical composition of muscles in broilers. Ross 308 chickens were randomized to seven groups (n=10/group) receiving adequate CP-containing (normal protein, “NP”) or LP-EAA diets, both supplemented with or without unprotected sodium butyrate, and NP diets with different forms of protected sodium butyrate. Carcass traits were measured, and the chemical composition of pectoral and femoral muscles was analyzed at the age of 6 weeks. Carcass weight was significantly increased by the LP-EAA diet and all protected butyrate types tested, while the relative breast meat yield was significantly higher in LP-EAA than NP groups and in both unprotected and protected butyrate-supplemented chickens compared to controls. The protein content of the femoral muscle was significantly decreased, but its lipid content was significantly elevated by the LP-EAA diet and by all types of butyrate addition. However, no changes were detected in the chemical composition of pectoral muscle. In conclusion, breast meat production can be effectively stimulated by dietary factors, such as by reducing dietary CP content with essential amino acid supplementation and by applying butyrate as a feed additive, while its chemical composition remains unchanged, in contrast to the femoral muscle. The aforementioned nutritional strategies seem to be the proper tools to increase carcass yield and to alter meat composition of broilers, contributing to more efficient poultry meat production.