by Sam Shafer
As demand for goose products increases, poultry scientists and producers are working to combat bird mortality. One goal is to help geese fight infections without overusing antibiotics.
In a new study, published The Journal of Applied Poultry Research, poultry scientists explore the use of dietary yeast culture (YC) supplementation as a strategy to boost goose health while also improving meat quality.
Yeast culture is a dried prebiotic product containing yeast and various metabolites of yeast fermentation. The product is rich in vitamins, saccharides, minerals, enzymes, growth-promoting factors, and amino acids. Previous studies have suggested that yeast culture supplementation can improve meat quality in beef cattle and broiler chickens, but the product has not been widely studied in geese.
For the new study, the researchers were especially interested in how yeast culture supplementation could affect antioxidant capacity, a common measure of a food’s ability to help the body fight disease.
The researchers analysed 300 geese given 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, or 4.0 percent yeast culture supplementation for 70 days. They found that supplementing with yeast culture can improve meat quality by lightness and redness readings of the meat, while decreasing the shear force, myofiber diameter and drip loss.
Yeast culture supplementation also improved the antioxidant capacity of geese. In fact, the geese in all groups given yeast culture showed higher levels of the antioxidant enzymes catalase and glutathione reductase than the control group. The geese given 2.0 or 4.0 percent yeast culture supplementation also had lower levels of malondialdehyde, a molecule that indicates oxidative stress. This means the geese could have been better equipped to fight pathogens.
For both meat quality and antioxidant capacity, results varied based on the level of yeast culture supplementation. The best physical meat properties came after 2 percent supplementation, but the best chemical meat composition came following 0.5 percent supplementation. Meanwhile, 1 and 2 percent supplementation led to the most improvement of the geese's antioxidant capacity.
The researchers recommend future studies to uncover the right balance of yeast culture supplementation for improving both meat quality and antioxidant capacity.
What does this study mean for producers?
Yeast culture supplementation is a potential step toward improving goose meat quality while boosting a goose’s ability to fight disease.
While more research is needed, yeast culture supplementation may allow producers to scale back the use of antibiotics in large-scale geese production.
The full paper, titled “Effects of dietary yeast culture supplementation on the meat quality and antioxidant capacity of geese,” can be found in The Journal of Applied Poultry Research and online here.
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