The Effect of Earthworm Eisenia foetida Meal as a Protein Source on Carcass characteristics and Physico-Chemical Attributes of Broilers
Objective: This study aimed to investigate the effects of Eisenia foetida (E. foetida) meal on the carcass characteristics and physicochemical attributes of broiler chickens. Materials and Methods: A total of 180, 12 per treatment un-sexed day-old broiler chicks were randomly assigned to five dietary treatments (T) as follows: 0% (EW0), 1% (EW1), 3% (EW3) 5%, (EW5) and 10% (EW10) earthworm meal inclusion. At day 35, carcass characteristics and meat quality were measured. Results: The results revealed the dietary effect on the wing and drumstick yield (p<0.05), however, supplementation of E. foetida meal linearly (p<0.05) reduced wing yield. The gizzard yield was increased linearly (p = 0.05) by worm meal inclusion. In addition, there were dietary treatments effects (p<0.05) on the colour of breast muscles over time. The highest values for L* (lightness) and b* (yellowness) were found in EW5 birds while the highest values for a* (redness) were found in EW1 birds. The pH values were affected (p<0.05) by the dietary treatments at 1h post-mortem with the highest pH values observed in birds in EW3 and EW1. Dietary treatments had a significant influence (p<0.05) on cooking loss; even though, there were no differences (p>0.05) observed on shear force values. The cooking loss increased linearly (p = 0.009) by the inclusion of worm meal. Conclusion: In conclusion, the inclusion of E. foetida meal into diets of broilers had positive effects on carcass characteristics and physicochemical attributes.
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