The present study is conducted to investigate the effects of dietary docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)-rich microalgae (MA, Aurantiochytrium sp.) on health lipid indices, stability, and quality properties of meat from laying hens. A total of 450 healthy 50-wk-old Hy-Line Brown layers were randomly allotted to 5 groups (6 replicates of 15 birds each), which received diets supplemented with 0, 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0% MA for 15 weeks. Fatty acid contents and quality properties of breast and thigh muscles from two randomly selected birds per replicate (n = 12) were measured. The oxidative stability of fresh, refrigerated, frozen, and cooked meat was also determined. Results indicated that supplemental MA produced dose-dependent enrichments of long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LC-PUFA), predominantly DHA, in breast and thigh muscles, with more health-promoting n-6/n-3 ratios (1.87-5.27) and favorable lipid health indices (p < 0.05). MA supplementation did not affect tenderness (shear force) and color (L*, a*, and b* values) of hen meat nor muscle endogenous antioxidant enzymes and fresh meat oxidation (p > 0.05). However, the n-3 LC-PUFA deposition slightly increased lipid oxidation in cooked and stored (4 °C) meat (p < 0.05). In conclusion, MA supplementation improves the nutritional quality of hen meat in terms of lipid profile without compromising meat quality attributes. Appropriate antioxidants are required to mitigate oxidation when such DHA-enriched meat is subjected to cooking and storage.

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Published in Foods, v. 9, issue 9, 1271.

© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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This research was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (grant No. 2018YFD0401203) and the open project program of State Key Laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Jiangnan University (No. SKLF-KF-201711).

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The following is available online at https://www.mdpi.com/2304-8158/9/9/1271/s1. Table S1: Chemical composition (g/100 g) of breast and thigh meat from laying hens with graded levels of microalgae supplementation. It is also available for download as the additional file listed at the end of this record.

foods-09-01271-s001.pdf (90 kB)
Supplementary File 1