The qualitative properties of the meat are of major importance for poultry breeding, since meat is now widely consumed as cuts or as processed products. The aim of this study was to evaluate the genetic parameters of several breast meat quality traits and their genetic relationships with muscle characteristics in a heavy commercial line of broilers.
Significant levels of heritability (averaging 0.3) were obtained for breast meat quality traits such as pH at 15 min post-slaughter, ultimate pH (pHu), color assessed by lightness L*, redness a* and yellowness b*, drip loss, thawing-cooking loss and shear-force. The rate of decrease in pH early post-mortem and the final pH of the meat were shown to be key factors of chicken meat quality.
In particular, a decrease in the final pH led to paler, more exudative and tougher breast meat.
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The article was contributed by Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), previously published in BioMed Central.