Quercetin is a kind of flavonoid compound that is widely found in fruits or vegetables. Quercetin has been widely reported for its excellent biological properties such as antibacterial, antioxidant, gut health improver, growth promoter, and immunomodulatory. However, there were no studies to evaluate the effects of dietary supplementation of quercetin extracted from the flower of Sophora japonica (QS) on growth performance and productive performance in broiler chicks. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the effects of supplementing quercetin extracted from the flower of Sophora japonica (QS) to the diet of broiler chicks on their growth performance, apparent nutrient digestibility, cecal microbiota, serum lipid profiles, relative organ weight, and breast muscle quality. A total of 1088 1-d-old broiler chicks (mixed sex) were randomly assigned to 4 groups based on the initial body weight (43.00 ± 0.29 g). The trial period was 35 d (starter, d 1–7; grower, d 8–21; finisher, d 22–35). There were 17 replicate cages per treatment and 16 birds per cage. Dietary treatments consisted of basal diet without quercetin as the control group and treatment groups consisted of basal diet supplemented with 0.2, 0.4, or 0.6 g/kg QS. With the increase of the QS dosage, body weight gain during d 1–7 (P = 0.021), 8–21 (P = 0.010), and 1–35 (P= 0.045), feed intake during d 1–7 (P = 0.037) and 1–35 (P = 0.025), apparent dry matter digestibility (P < 0.05), apparent energy retention (P < 0.05), cecal lactic acid bacteria counts (P < 0.05), the relative weight of breast muscle (P < 0.05), pH value of breast muscle (P < 0.001), and the WHC of breast muscle (P= 0.012) increased linearly, whereas breast muscle drip loss (P= 0.001) decreased linearly. The addition of QS in the diet of broiler chicks has positive effects on the breast muscle yield and breast muscle quality, and could improve the apparent nutrient digestibility by increasing cecal beneficial bacteria counts, thus improving growth performance. Dietary level of QS in 0.6 g/kg was a suitable dose.
Key Words: quercetin, broiler, gut health.
Presented at the 9th Symposium on Gut Health in Production of Food Animals, St. Louis, USA, 2021. For information on the next edition, click here.