Okra fruit: Enhancing broiler meat quality

A phytogenic additive − ’Okra fruit’ − has been shown to improve the meat quality of broilers. Eating this fruit also improves the bird’s health status as it possesses, among other characteristics, antibacterial, anthelmintic, and antioxidant properties.


A clear improve- ment in growth rate of broilers supplemented with okra fruit was observed with the 3 g/kg inclusion rate.

kra (Abelmoschus esculentus), also known as la- dy’s finger or ochro, is an economically important vegetable crop that is commonly grown in tropi- cal and sub-tropical areas of the world. It is mainly

cultivated for its seeds and fruits. Its cultivation is relatively easy compared to most vegetables, as it can grow in a variety of soil types. Researchers at the Zagazig University have re- cently published an interesting finding on the positive im- pacts of dried okra fruit powder on growth, immunity, car- cass, and the meat quality of broilers. Their study consisted of the following diets: 1) control (basal feed); 2) three diets with okra fruit at three different inclusion levels (1 g/kg feed; 2 g/ kg feed; 3 g/kg feed). Chicks were given the feed in mashed form, from 1 to 5 weeks of age.

Carcass yield and quality What the researchers observed is that the carcass weight was similar regardless of the diet. However, feeding birds with 2 g

okra fruit/kg feed resulted in the best breast meat yield. Birds feeding on okra supplemented diets had 13% less abdominal fat than control, measured at 5 weeks of age. They attributed these results to the antioxidant property of the okra; antioxi- dants reduce the activity of cytosolic malic enzyme, leading to suppressed abdominal fat deposition. Meat colour is an important assessment criterion and is one of the most impor- tant factors influencing consumers’ acceptance of meat and meat products. Undesirable changes in colour parameters and sensory properties of meat during storage are caused by the compounds produced during oxidative degradation of li- pids and a decrease in water-holding capacity. The decrease in colour intensity and water holding capacity following three-month storage was lowest for the maximum inclusion (3 g/kg) of okra fruit. In addition, the microbiological quality of the meat was assessed for total bacterial, psychrophilic bacterial, and yeast and mould counts. As could be observed in the control diet, meat samples treated with different okra levels showed a gradual increase in total bacterial counts over time; however, the rate of increase was remarkably lower than that observed in the control sample.

Oxidative rancidity The major factor affecting meat sensory characteristics is lipid oxidation during storage. The TBA test (Thiobarbituric acid re- active substances assay), one of the most widely used meth- ods for measuring the oxidative rancidity of food, was used. As expected, there was an increase in the TBA value in all the samples during freezing storage (measured up to three months). However, oxidative rancidity was far less in broiler meat supplemented with okra than in untreated control sam- ples, throughout the storage period. These researchers point- ed to the presence of total phenolics and flavonoids in okra fruit that have an antioxidant effect. In addition, okra fruit is rich in vitamin E and carotenoids – providing an additional shield against oxidative stress, thus offering a key role in the stability and shelf life of the meat.

Improved immunity and growth Okra fruit supplementation was found to enhance the im- mune system of broilers. This was observed through signifi- cantly higher lysozymes and Immunoglobulin M (IgM) values in groups supplemented with okra than in the control group

▶ ALL ABOUT FEED | Volume 28, No. 8, 2020 9

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40