Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry is a valid tool for assessing in vivo body composition of broilers
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The use of non-invasive techniques to estimate body composition in animals in vivo conforms to the desire to improve the welfare of animals during research and also has the potential to advance scientific research. The purpose of the present study was to determine a predictive equation of the dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) method for broilers by comparing the measurement of body composition using DXA with that by chemical analysis. In total, 720 day-old Cobb500 broilers were distributed into a split-plot arrangement 3 (crude protein concentrations of diets) × 2 (genders) × 2 (methods of chemical body evaluation), with six replications of 20 birds each. To promote the modification of the body composition of broilers, diets varied in the crude protein concentration, which was 70%, 100% and 130% of the required. Two hundred and sixteen birds in different ages were evaluated by its bodyweight, lean, fat and ash contents. The data were submitted to ANOVA and it was demonstrated that the dietary crude protein levels applied allowed a greater variation of the body composition of the birds. Also, the results indicated that the DXA method did not predict fat mass, lean mass or bone mineral content as well as did chemical composition analysis, resulting in the need to develop regression equations for improving the in vivo prediction of these chemical components. The regression equations developed here enable the feather-free body composition of individual broilers to be directly estimated throughout growth using the DXA non-invasive technique.
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