The Effect of Heat Stress on Meat Quality, Growth Performance and Antioxidant Capacity of Broiler Chickens: a review

Document Type : Review


College of Animal Science, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou China, 483 Wushan Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510642, China


Given the escalating environmental temperature and a considerable progress in meat production capacity, broiler chickens are more sensitive to heat stress than before. The detrimental influences of heat stress include diminished feed intake and reduced average daily gain, low feed efficiency, impaired immune response, deterioration of meat quality, and disturbed gastrointestinal microflora. Generation of free radicals, reactive oxygen species, and their combined action on cell membrane leads to damage in the cell membrane integrity and alters the metabolic function of the body resulting in various physiological abnormalities. There have been numerous studies on cost-effective strategies to mitigate the harmful effect of heat stress. The use of various dietary antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, and probiotics, alone or in combination, has led to promising results on the growth performance of broiler chickens, thereby decreasing the unexpected losses incurred due to heat stress. This article aims to review the scientific evidence concerning the various harmful consequences of heat stress in broiler chicken, with emphasis on meat quality, carcass traits, and growth performance. We also discuss some mitigation strategies in the next section.


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