A study on the sternum growth and mineralization kinetic of meat duck from 35 to 63 days of age

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The sternum as an important part of the skeleton and not only provides a crucial attachment site for the pectoral muscles and protects internal organs such as the heart and lungs for meat duck, but may also be considered as the primary ventilator in the avian respiratory system. Therefore, this study focuses on the sternum growth and mineralization kinetics of ducks from 35 d to 63 d of age. A total of 72 one-d-old males and 72 females were chosen and fed with the same diet until the age of 9 weeks. The sternum and serum were harvested at 35 d, 42 d, 49 d, 56d, and 63 d of feeding. Results showed that the sternum width rapidly grew from 35 d to 42 d and the value changed little after 42 d, while the keel length and the sternum depth did not significantly change until 49 d age. The sternum defatted weight and density increased assumed to “S” with ducks' age and their plateau in the 56 d. The sternum ash content, calcium (Ca), and phosphate (P) levels increased with duck age, then all three reached a plateau in 49 days. Similarly, serum alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity was higher in the ducks at both 35 and 42 days, followed by 49 days, and the value was lowered to a minimum on both days 56 and 63. Conversely, serum tartrate resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) activity substantially increased until 49 days irrespective of duck gender. Results indicate that the dimensions of the sternum were already at the maximum in 49-day-old ducks and the sternum of the ducks rapidly mineralized from 42 d to 49 d of age and achieved a plateau phase after 49-days resulting from the high activity of ALP at the sternum early mineralization.

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