- PLoS ONE
- vol.13, no.2, pp.e0193307-1-e0193307-14, 2018-02
The high incidence of meat of impaired quality poses a serious problem in the poultry industry. In recent years, the incidence of the pectoralis major muscle that appeared pale colored, remarkably hardened, and exudative, called “wooden breast” or “woody breast” has increased in slaughter houses. In the present study, 19-day-old Ross 308 broiler chickens affected (n = 10) and unaffected (n = 10) with remarkably hardened breast were selected from a commercial broiler farm, and reared to 55 days of age under a controlled environment. Among the affected birds, 5 of 10 birds appeared exhausted with markedly suppressed weight gain and 4 of 10 birds died during the rearing period. In contrast, all unaffected birds survived and most gained weight. Four of 10 unaffected birds lost the ability of back-to-back wing contact by the late stage of rearing. The biochemical analysis of blood plasma samples of 20-day-old birds revealed that creatine kinase and L-aspartate aminotransferase values in most affected birds were higher than those in unaffected birds; however, these values in unaffected birds increased rapidly with lost wing contactability and increasing age. Postmortem examinations revealed that the mean diameter of myofibers in affected birds was smaller than that in unaffected birds. Moreover, symptoms of degenerative and regenerative muscles were observed in most birds in both groups. Among them, a decrease in, or defect of, the characteristic polygonal shape of myofibers was the most common change within the pectoralis major muscles in both groups. The present study demonstrated that broilers affected with remarkably hardened breast during the middle stage of rearing would have suppressed physical status and weight gain, or would die. It was suggested that rapid growth in broilers might be a cause of remarkably hardened breast.