Tracing metabolic routes of feed ingredients in tissues of broiler chickens using stable isotopes
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The present study aimed to quantify the proportion of 13C from energy and protein feed ingredients that follow the metabolic routing of the liver and muscle in broiler chickens. A stable isotope of carbon technique was used that is based on the isotopic discrimination that occurs in the plants during the photosynthesis process. One-day-old male chicks were subjected to treatments based on free choice of energy and protein sources. Rice bran (R) and soybean meal (S), C3 plants, have higher isotopic ratios than corn (C), a C4 plant, and corn gluten meal (G). Choices were R+S, C+G, R+G, C+S, or R+C+G+S. A complete feed (CF) was a sixth treatment. Feed intake and BW were measured at 30 d of age, when liver and breast muscle were collected for isotopic analysis. Treatments affected the amount of feed intake and the choices of energy or protein sources. Complete feed had the largest intake, differing from the other treatments that had free-choice feeding. Final BW was a direct reflection of consumption by these birds in all treatments. The isotopic results indicated that the 13C/12C ratio was generally higher in breast muscle than in liver, probably because of higher protein content. Moreover, in the liver, the proportion of 13C retained from the energy ingredient was greater than the proportion from the protein ingredient. That is in contrast to muscle, where the proportion of 13C retained from the protein ingredient was greater than from the energy ingredient that was self-selected.
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