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PhytoShield© improves performance, digestive health, and meat quality in broilers | PlusVet Animal Health
Expertos en fitobióticos y salud digestiva
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PhytoShield© improves performance, digestive health, and meat quality in broilers

In the last three years, our company has been developing new applications for our products based on essential oils. 

One of the applications in which we have been most successful is the improvement of the quality of chicken meat. We have formulated PhytoShield©, an emulsion rich in antioxidant essential oils that is administered through drinking water during the last two weeks of the chicken’s life.

In this blog, we present the results of the latest field trial, in which PhytoShield© has been shown to have a positive effect on the following parameters

  • Performance at the farm: with a return on investment of 3:1.
  • Percentage of birds dead during transport or culled on arrival at the slaughterhouse
  • Intestinal health (bacterial enteritis) and liver health 
  • Performance at slaughterhouse
  • Meat quality: color, pH, oxidation, microbiological contamination, % protein
  • Meat taste

TRIAL DESIGN

 The experimental animals were 817 broilers (local breed); 55,000 animals in trial group and 55,000 animals in control group.

Treatment of the trial group: PhytoShield©, 10 h/day, added to drinking water, for the last 15 days of the life of the animals (day 22 to day 36).

Treatment of the control group: None.

All the other health, nutritional and management parameters, as well as the environmental conditions, were the same for both groups.

RESULTS

PERFORMANCE AT THE FARM

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RETURN ON INVESTMENT RELATED TO PERFORMANCE ON THE FARM, 3:1

INTESTINAL HEALTH – AVERAGE SCORE OF 12 BIRDS

12 animals of each group were necropsied.

Their intestinal health was evaluated, following the macroscopic scoring system for coccidiosis and bacterial enteritis published by Dr. Hilde Van Meirhaeghe (absence of a pathological sign= 0, presence of a pathological sign= 1)

The average total bacterial enteritis score was 34% better in the trial group.

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LIVER HEALTH

Upon examination of the livers, it was observed that all the livers in the trial group had a healthy appearance, while 5/12 of the livers in the control group were yellowish, fragile, showed tissue degeneration or bleeding.

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PERFORMANCE AT THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE

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COLOR OF THE CARCASS

The color of the carcass was observed during 12 h post-slaughter. The color of the control group was lighter than that of the trial group.

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% PROTEIN

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pH CHANGE IN 24 H – BREAST

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Muscle pH changes during 24 h after slaughter are critical for meat quality because very low or low pH combined with high temperatures can lead to protein denaturation. Once the protein is denatured, the muscle cannot retain water, and the meat becomes pale and soft.

Both initial pH and pH after 24 hours were higher in the trial group than in the control group, and the magnitude of the 24-hour pH drop was smaller.

pH CHANGE IN 24 H – LEG

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Both initial pH and pH after 24 hours were higher in the trial group than in the control group, and the magnitude of the 24-hour pH drop was smaller.

OXIDATIVE STATUS OF THE MEAT

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MDA (malondialdehyde) is a product of fat oxidation. The higher MDA content, the more severe the oxidation of muscles are.

The muscle oxidation product of the trial group is significantly lower than that of the control group, indicating that PhytoShield© can effectively improve the antioxidant capacity of the muscle.

MICROBIOLOGY OF THE MEAT

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There were great individual differences among the different samples. However, overall, the total aerobic bacteria content in the breast and legs of the trial group was lower than that of the control group, indicating that PhytoShield© has potential to extend the shelf life of the carcass.

TASTE AND FLAVOR – MEAT

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A sensory evaluation with independent panelists was organized to determine the aroma, taste and juiciness of the meats.

All parameters were better in the PhytoShield© group.

TASTE AND FLAVOR – SOUP

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A sensory evaluation with independent panelists was organized to determine the flavor, umami, salinity, and aftertaste of soups prepared with the meats.

The aroma and the umami of the trial group are worse than control, while the salinity and the aftertaste were better.

Products of choice

PhytoShield© is an oral emulsion that contains essential oils, electrolytes and vitamins intended to promote growth, reduce oxidative stress, increase meat and egg quality, and keep the animals hydrated.

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