October 18, 2021

Interpretive Summary: Dietary taurine protects against oxidative stress in broiler chickens

Interpretive Summary: Dietary taurine protects against oxidative stress in broiler chickens

By: Anne Kamiya, MS

Injury from oxidative stress happens when the body’s ability to control free radicals is overwhelmed. Normally, antioxidants and pro-oxidants counter and neutralize toxic oxidative products, but when this system is overwhelmed due to environment, stress or illness, free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) become free to roam and damage cellular structures. Oxidative stress affects every organ system and can be devastating to the poultry industry, leading to poor growth performance and production. 

The authors of this recent Journal of Animal Science study hypothesized that supplementation with the amino acid taurine would attenuate oxidative stress in broiler chickens. Male broiler chickens were injected with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to increase oxidative stress. Chickens were fed a diet with or without an added 5 g/kg taurine supplementation. A separate control group was not injected with H2O2. Meat quality, ROS and oxidative parameters in muscle tissue were measured. Results found that chickens injected with H2O2 had poorer meat quality and reduced growth performance compared to the control group. Chickens injected with H2O2 but supplemented with taurine had improved growth performance compared to the chickens that were not fed taurine. Additionally, several indicators of oxidative stress including ROS content was reduced in the muscle tissue of chickens fed taurine when compared to the H2O2 exposed chickens that did not receive this supplement.

Overall, the results of this study suggest that dietary taurine supplementation may benefit the health of broiler chickens by protecting against oxidative stress. More comprehensive studies to elucidate the biochemical mechanisms behind these useful findings are warranted.  

The original article, Dietary taurine attenuates hydrogen peroxide-impaired growth performance and meat quality of broilers via modulating redox status and cell death signaling, is now viewable on the Journal of Animal Science website.