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Light Intensity During Rearing Affects Meat Quality

by 5m Editor
5 January 2010, at 8:51a.m.

US - Rearing broilers in dim light resulted in longer and heavier fillets but slightly tougher meat than those reared in brightlight, according to researchers at Auburn University.

McKee and co-workers designed a study to evaluate the effects of light intensity and handling during rearing on broiler and meat quality factors. Their paper was published in the current issue of International Journal of Poultry Science.

Male broilers were housed in light-tight rooms and subjected to bright (BL; 15.0 foot-candles FC) or dim (DL; 0.1 FC) intensity. To determine effects of handling on meat quality, birds were further divided into one of three handling groups, either handling by the legs (L) or wings (W) or no handling (NoH).

After processing and chilling at 51 days of age, breast fillets were deboned at two and four hours post mortem and fillet weights, fillet dimensions (length, width, height and area), sarcomere length, cook-loss and tenderness were evaluated.

The Auburn researchers found that birds subjected to DL had greater live weights (p<0.05), post-chill weights and fillet weights than birds reared in BL. The increase in fillet weights observed for in DL was due to an increase in fillet length and area.

Light or handling treatments had no affect on DPM and other carcass defects. Cook-loss had no specific trend.

Fillets deboned at two hours post mortem had higher shear values than those deboned at four hours post mortem, regardless of light or handling.

Within the two-hour post mortem deboning period, DL resulted in higher shear values and greater sarcomere length than BL treatments. This trend was not observed in the fillets deboned at four hours post mortem.

McKee and colleagues concluded that the dim light treatment resulted in longer, heavier fillets but slightly tougher meat when the fillets were deboned at two hours post mortem.

Reference

McKee N.A., R.J. Lien, J.B. Hess, S.F. Bilgili and S.R. McKee. 2009. Effect of light intensity and handling during rearing on broiler breast meat characteristics. International Journal of Poultry Science 8 (11): 1028-1033.