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Poult Sci. 2001 Jul;80(7):833-8.

Effect of selection for improved body composition on muscle and meat characteristics of broilers from experimental and commercial lines.

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  • 1Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Station de Recherches Avicoles, Nouzilly, France.


Meat quality (pH, color, and drip loss) and muscle characteristics (composition and metabolic pattern) were compared among four broiler lines: an experimental line, a commercial line selected for increased body weight and breast yield, and the respective unselected control lines. By comparison to their controls, the commercially selected birds exhibited higher body weight and breast yield (127 and 61%, respectively), whereas only breast yield was increased (21%) in the experimental selected line. Commercial selection resulted in higher protein content and lower moisture in the breast muscle. Experimental and commercial selection decreased the heme pigment content, which could explain why breast meat of the selected birds was more pale and less red. This change in the color did not correspond to a pale, soft, and exudative (PSE) defect, as the selected birds did not exhibit excessive drip loss. By comparison with their controls, both selected lines showed a lower rate and extent of pH decline postmortem, which was consistent with the lower glycolytic potential they also exhibited. However, no significant changes in the metabolic pathways of breast muscle, as measured by enzyme activities, could be found to explain differences in rates of pH decline among lines. This study did not support the idea that selection had a negative impact on meat quality, despite evidence of modified breast metabolism.

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