Effect of methionine supplementation in chicken feed on the quality and shelf life of fresh poultry meat
The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of different methionine sources and concentrations on the quality and spoilage process of broiler meat. The trial was comprised of 7 treatment groups: one basal group (suboptimal in Methionine+Cysteine; i.e., 0.89, 0.74, 0.69% in DM SID Met+Cys in starter, grower, and finisher diets, respectively) and 3 doses (0.10, 0.25, and 0.40%) of either DL-Methionine (DLM) or DL-2-hydroxy-4-methylthio butanoic acid (DL-HMTBA) on an equimolar basis of the DLM-supplemented groups. The broilers were fed the diets for 35 d, then slaughtered and processed. The filets were aerobically packed and stored under temperature controlled conditions at 4°C. Meat quality investigations were comprised of microbial investigations (total viable count and Pseudomonas spp.), pH and drip loss measurements of the filets. The shelf life of the meat samples was determined based on sensory parameters. After slaughtering, all supplemented meat samples showed a high quality, whereby no differences between the 2 methionine sources could be detected for the microbial load, pH, and drip loss. In comparison to the control group, the supplemented samples showed a higher sensory quality, characterized by a fresh smell and fresh red color. Methionine supplementation had a significant influence on meat quality parameters during storage. The microbial load, pH and drip loss of the chicken filets were positively correlated to the methionine concentration. Additionally, the microbial load at the end of storage was positively correlated to pH and drip loss values. Nevertheless, the microbial parameters were in a normal range and the positive correlation to methionine concentration did not affect the sensory shelf life. The mean sensory shelf life of the broiler filets varied between 7 to 9 d. During storage, no difference in the development of sensory parameters was observed between the supplemented groups, while the spoilage process of the basal group occurred slightly faster. In conclusion, methionine concentration, but not methionine source, effected meat quality parameters in breast muscles of broilers.