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Sustainability, animal welfare and microbiological quality as added value factors in broiler chickens production


According to United Nations estimation, the world population will reach 9 billion people by 2050 and the global food production will need to raise by 70%. On the other hand, the society claims for more strict environmental protection laws, restricting the possibility of expanding the area used for food production. In this scenario, it is of concern the option adopted by the sector of poultry production, that invests in genetic development focused on broilers able to convert better and faster high-quality ingredients, that should be destinated for human nutrition, especially corn and soy-bean. In this project, acerola residue from the fruit juice processing industry will be evaluated as an alternative source of nutrients in feed formulation for broilers. Taking into account that fast growing chickens strains present very high nutritional requirements, this nutritional management will also be evaluated using slow growth strains, reared in an extensive colonial type system, in paddocks. Birds' productive performance and production cost will be evaluated in both rearing systems - intensive and extensive - using different levels of acerola residue supplementation. Animal welfare will be evaluated during rearing period and at slaughter. The electric parameters to stun chickens before bleeding will be optimized, aiming to minimize birds suffering. Stress will be evaluated by visual parameters, based on birds behavior, and measuring the levels of blood stress indicators - glucose and corticosterone. Furthermore, after slaughter, carcass characteristics will be evaluated, such as technological defects as result of inadequate birds management, carcass composition and level of contamination by Salmonella sp., and meat traits, such as color, texture, taste and consumer acceptance. Considering that the extensive rearing system, in paddocks, is expected to increase the carcasses microbiological contamination, alternatives to reduce this contamination will be tested, using chemical compounds allowed by national and international laws within the concentration established by these regulations. This project may contribute to broaden the view of the broiler chickens production sectors, providing options to reduce the dependence on high technology and high cost facilities and lineages, and on grains and other rich ingredients to birds' nutrition. (AU)