BACKGROUND: Echinacea purpurea L. (EP) is a popular herbal antioxidant and immunomodulator. The present study was conducted to evaluate the effects of EP on meat quality and oxidative status in broilers. Two hundred and fifty (1-day-old) male broilers (Arbor Acres) were randomly allocated to five groups including the control (corn-soybean meal diet) and 0.1, 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0% EP powder groups, with two replicates per treatment group.
RESULTS: The results indicated that the addition of 0.5% and 1.0% EP significantly increased water-holding capacity and decreased storage loss of breast and thigh fillets at 35 days old. For fillet colour, L* (lightness) values were lower, and a* (redness) and b* (yellowness) values were higher with EP supplementation. Lower crude fat contents were observed in EP groups in comparison with control at 35 days of age in breast and thigh fillets, respectively. Production of malondialdehyde was slightly reduced in serum of EP supplemented birds compared to the control group. Results for Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity, catalase and superoxide dismutase were significantly higher for the 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0% EP supplemental groups than control group in serum. Liver and spleen tissues results showed that the antioxidative enzymes activities were higher with EP powder at 35 days of age.
CONCLUSION: Dried EP can be used as a feed additive to improve the meat quality and oxidative status in Arbor Acres broilers. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry