Laser enrichment affects myogenic gene expression and breast muscle diameter in Ross 708 broilers

  • Meaghan Meyer (Iowa State University)
  • Anna K. Johnson (Iowa State University)
  • Elizabeth Bobeck (Iowa State University)


Environmentalenrichment designed to stimulate activity may reduce the occurrence of the problematicbreast muscle myopathy, woody breast (WB). Successful tools to minimize thisdisease and resulting economic loss to the poultry industry have yet to be established.The current research objectives were to improve broiler breast muscle qualityand myogenic growth potential through environmental enrichment. Six hundredRoss 708 broilers were randomly assigned to enrichment (LASER; laserenrichment, or CON; no laser enrichment) for a 49d study. A subset of 100 birdsat each timepoint were used for breast muscle outcomes at d42 and d49. Breastwidth was measured pre-slaughter, then the right breast fillet was scored forWB using a tactile 0-3 scale and weighed at harvest. RNA isolated from 30breast muscle samples each at d42 and 49 was analyzed using real-time qPCR. Breastmuscle diameter was increased in LASER-enriched broilers on d42 and 49(P≤0.005) and breast weight was increased by 30g on d42 (P=0.039). At d42, 16%more LASER-enriched WB scores were 0 (normal) compared to the CON, and at d49, 12%more LASER-enriched scores were 0. LASER-enriched broiler breast tissue hadupregulated expression of muscle regulatory factor 4 at d42 compared to the CON(P<0.05). Taken together, these outcomes indicate that laser enrichment-inducedexercise can minimize severity of woody breast without reducing growth.

Keywords: broiler, woody breast, meat quality, environmental enrichment

How to Cite:

Meyer, M., Johnson, A. K. & Bobeck, E., (2023) “Laser enrichment affects myogenic gene expression and breast muscle diameter in Ross 708 broilers”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 20(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.31274/air.15484

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Published on
21 Mar 2023
Peer Reviewed