The objective of this study was to compare the effects of two esters of α-tocopherol, all-rac-α-tocopherol acetate (DL-α-TOA) and RRR-α-tocopherol succinate (D-α-TOS), on meat quality and the antioxidative status in chicks. A total of 320 day-old Arbor Acres broiler chicks were randomly allocated to 4 treatments, each consisting of 8 pens of 10 chicks per pen. Birds in the control group received the basal diet supplemented with 30 mg DL-α-TOA/kg diet. In the other treatments the diet was supplemented with D-α-TOS at 15 mg/kg, 30 mg/kg or 60 mg/kg (TOS1, TOS2 and TOS3 treatments), respectively. The trial lasted 42 days. Positive correlations existed between dietary D-α-TOS levels and plasma and hepatic α-tocopherol concentrations, and a negative correlation with malonaldehyde (MDA) concentrations. In comparison with the control group, 30 mg/kg and 60 mg/kg of dietary D-α-TOS supplementation resulted in an increase in glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activity and glutathione (GSH) content of the breast and thigh muscle and total superoxide dismutase (T-SOD) activity in the thigh muscle. Furthermore, the muscle MDA and hepatic reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels were reduced. As for meat quality, 48 h drip loss and shear force of breast and leg muscle were lower in broilers in the TOS1, TOS2 treatments and also the cooking loss in leg muscle. The study suggests that 30 mg/kg to 60 mg D-α-TOS/kg of the diet could enhance the antioxidant capacity of broiler meat, and its water-holding capacity and tenderness, in association with the reduction in lipid peroxidation as measured as a decrease in MDA and ROS concentrations.
"Experientia docet" - Experience is the best teacher