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ABSTRACT: 1. The present study was conducted to investigate the effects of dietary glutamine (Gln) supplementation on growth performance, carcase characteristics and meat quality in broilers exposed to high ambient temperature. 2. A total of 240 35-d-old male Arbor Acres broilers were randomly assigned to 4 treatment groups (three replicates of 20 birds per cage). The broilers were kept in a temperature-controlled room at either 23 degrees C (no-stress groups, NS) or 28 degrees C (heat stress groups, HS). The broilers were fed either on a basal diet (control, NS) or on the basal diet supplemented with 0, 0.5 or 1.0% Gln (HS). 3. Compared with the NS, the HS (0% Gln) group gained less weight and consumed less feed, had lower final body weight, gain-to-feed ratio, and abdominal fat yield. Breast meat in HS (0% Gln) had lower pH, water-holding capacity (WHC), a* value, ether extract (EE) content and crude protein (CP) content, and had higher shear force (SF) and L* value. 4. Linear increase were found in groups supplemented with Gln (0, 0.5% and 1.0%) for final body weight, weight gain, feed consumption, gain-to-feed ratio and abdominal fat yield. Supplementation with Gln improved breast meat pH, WHC, SF, L* value, a* value, EE content and CP content in broilers exposed to heat stress. No significant difference was observed in all the indices determined between the HS (1% Gln) and the NS. 5. Heat stress caused obvious breast meat discoloration in L*, a* and b* values. However, dietary supplementation with Gln gave a better colour stability. 6. The results indicated that dietary supplementation with Gln may alleviate heat stress-caused deterioration in growth performance, carcase characteristics, meat quality and meat colour stability of broilers.
British Poultry Science 06/2009; 50(3):333-40. · 1.15 Impact Factor