Spirulina as a functional ingredient in broiler chicken diets
In recent years there has been increased interest in the production of novel functional foods by utilizing eco-friendly materials and methods. Therefore, the present study was undertaken to determine the effects of dietary spirulina (Spirulina platensis), a blue-green microalga, on growth performance, meat oxidative stability and fatty acid profile of broiler chickens. One hundred and twenty one-day-old broiler chickens of mixed sex were weighed individually and assigned randomly to three treatment groups with four replications of 10 birds. All birds were housed in floor cages with litter, and conventional breeding and management procedures were applied throughout the 42-day trial period. The treatment groups were as follows: control: 0 g spirulina/kg feed; S05: 5 g spirulina/kg feed; S10: 10 g spirulina/kg feed. The birds were fed with maize and soybean meal-based commercial diets for the starter (1 to 14 days), grower (15 to 28 days) and finisher (29 to 42 days) periods. Feed and drinking water were offered to all birds ad libitum. The results of the experiment showed that bodyweight gain (at 21 d and 42 d), feed conversion ratio and mortality did not differ among the groups, nor did breast and thigh meat lipid oxidation differ among the groups. The fatty acid profile of the thigh meat was enriched in polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid after spirulina supplementation. Therefore, spirulina could be a promising functional ingredient in broiler chicken nutrition.
Keywords: Poultry, microalgae, performance, meat oxidative stability, fatty acid profile