Effects of dietary supplementation of L-carnitine on performance, carcass and meat characteristics of quails
The present study was conducted to determine the effects of feeding diets containing two levels of metabolizable energy (12.13 or 11.72 MJ ME/kg) and two different fat sources (sunflower- and fish-oil) with or without supplemental L-carnitine (0 or 50 mg/kg diet) on growth performance and carcass and meat characteristics of Japanese quails. Two hundred and forty day-old male quail chicks were randomly assigned to eight treatment groups, each subdivided into three replicates of 10 chicks. The chicks were raised from hatch until 5 wks of age. Feeding the diet containing 12.13 MJ ME/kg increases body weight and body weight gain significantly, and improved the feed conversion ratio above that of the lower energy diet. Feed intakes of the birds were unaffected by treatments. The cold carcass yield of quails fed the diet containing sunflower oil was significantly higher than those receiving the diets containing fish oil. After 35 days of feeding the diet containing the standard energy level (12.13 MJ ME/kg) the thigh yield of the birds was significantly higher than that of the chicks on the lower energy diet. Dietary treatments did not affect pH values of edible meat in the quails. Feeding diets containing sunflower oil and L-carnitine significantly decreased malonaldehyde (MA) amounts in the edible meat. The crude protein content of the edible meat fraction was significantly higher when the dietary energy level was decreased from 12.13 to 11.72 MJ ME/kg diet. Decreasing dietary energy levels significantly decreased the “L” (lightness) and “b” values (less yellow) of the meat, while dietary L-carnitine supplementation resulted in a significant increase in “L” value. The total edible meat of the quails on the diets containing fish oil had a higher “a” value (more red) than the quails receiving sunflower oil in their diets. It was concluded that additional studies are required to clarify the role of dietary L-carnitine in the oxidation of long-chain fatty acids, its antioxidant properties and its importance in energy metabolism in Japanese quails.
Keywords: L-carnitine; metabolizable energy; fat sources; carcass quality; shelflife of edible meat
South African Journal of Animal Science Vol. 37 (3) 2007: pp.189-201