Wooden or woody breast (WB) is a myopathy of the pectoralis major in fast-growing broilers that influences the quality of breast meat and causes an economic loss in the poultry industry. The objective of this study was to evaluate growth and proteome differences between 5 genetic strains of broilers that yield WB and normal breast (NB) meat. Eight-week-old broilers were evaluated for the WB myopathy and divided into NB and WB groups. Differential expression of proteins was analyzed using 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis and LC-MS/MS to elucidate the mechanism behind the breast myopathy because of the genetic backgrounds of the birds. The percentages of birds with WB were 61.3, 68.8, 46.9, 45.2, and 87.5% for strains 1-5, respectively, indicating variability in WB myopathy among broiler strains. Birds from strains 1, 3, and 5 in the WB group were heavier than those in the NB group (P < 0.05). Woody breast meat from all strains were heavier than NB meat (P < 0.05). Within WB, strain 5 had a greater breast yield than strains 1, 3, and 4 (P < 0.0001). Woody breast from strains 2, 3, 4, and 5 had a greater breast yield than NB (P < 0.05). Six proteins were more abundant in NB of strain 5 than those of strains 2, 3, and 4, and these proteins were related to muscle growth, regeneration, contraction, apoptosis, and oxidative stress. Within WB, 14 proteins were differentially expressed between strain 5 and other strains, suggesting high protein synthesis, weak structural integrity, intense contraction, and oxidative stress in strain 5 birds. The differences between WB from strain 3 and strains 1, 2, and 4 were mainly glycolytic. In conclusion, protein profiles of broiler breast differed because of both broiler genetics and the presence of WB myopathy.

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Published in Poultry Science, v. 100, issue 4, 100994.

© 2021 Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of Poultry Science Association Inc.

This is an open access article under the CC BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2017-67017-26473.