Effects of season and distance during transport on broiler chicken meat

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This research aims to evaluate the microclimate of commercial loads of broiler chickens at different distances in the summer (rainy) and winter (dry) seasons and their effects on meat quality. Twelve broiler loads were monitored with a total of 24 crates per load. Data loggers were used to record temperature and relative humidity. The experiment followed a completely randomized design with 48 treatments in a factorial scheme (2 seasons: rainy and dry) x 2 (distances: short and long) x 12 (positions), with 3 replicates per experimental group. In the rainy season, meat quality was influenced by transport distance. For longer distances, it recorded the highest enthalpy comfort index (ECI), suggesting a tendency of dark, firm, and dry meat (DFD-like) and lower cooking losses (CL). The lowest ECI was recorded during the transport in dry season. Broiler chickens transported and slaughtered in the winter presented meat pH and L* (lightness) classified as “normal,” but with higher cooking losses. For the shear force (SF), the seasons and distances had no significant influence on tenderness of the meat. Regarding the crate positioning in the load, no effect was observed during transport on this variable, given the meat quality characteristics of pH, L*, CL, and SF. These results suggest that the distance and the seasons present more influence on broiler meat quality than crate position in the truck.

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