ABSTRACT: Meat safety and nutrition are major concerns of consumers. The development of distinctive poultry production methods based on locally available natural resources is important. Grasshoppers are rich in important nutrients and occur in dense concentrations in most rangelands of northern China. Foraging chickens could be used to suppress grasshopper infestations. However, knowledge of the fatty acid content of meat from free-range broilers reared on alpine rangeland is required.
Rearing conditions and diet did not significantly (P > 0.05) affect concentrations of saturated fatty acid (SFA), arachidonic acid, docosahexaenoic acid or the ratio of total n-6 to total n-3 fatty acids. Breast muscle of chickens that had consumed grasshoppers contained significantly (P < 0.05) less monounsaturated fatty acid, but the ratio of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA)/SFA and contents of total n-3, total n-6 and PUFA were significantly (P > 0.05) higher than intensively reared birds. Compared with meat from intensively reared birds, meat from free-range broilers had less cholesterol and higher concentrations of total lipid and phospholipids.
Chickens eating grasshoppers in rangeland produce superior quality meat and reduce the grasshopper populations that damage the pastures. This provides an economic system of enhanced poultry-meat production, which derives benefits from natural resources rather than artificial additives.
Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 02/2012; 92(11):2239-43. · 1.44 Impact Factor