Sensory Characteristics and Skin Color Evaluation of Meat from Broiler Chickens Fed Sweet Potato Root Meal

Jannette R. Bartlett, Ronique C. Beckford


The feed consumed by broilers have a direct impact on the nutritional and physical properties of the meat produced. Most livestock diets are formulated using corn as the major energy ingredient; however, with the diversion of corn to ethanol production, alternative ingredients are being studied. This study utilized sweet potato root meal (SPRM) as partial replacement for corn in the diet of broilers to determine its effect on meat color and consumers’ sensory perception. Rations were formulated replacing 0%, 10%, 20%, and 30% of corn. Three hundred and sixty 1-day-old Cornish Rock male broiler chickens were fed diets ad libitum for 49 days and slaughtered on day 50. Breast, leg, and thigh were evaluated for skin color (L* (lightness), a* (redness), b* (yellowness)) and sensory attributes. Sixty two consumer panelists evaluated meat for juiciness, tenderness, flavor, and acceptability. Results showed a* and b* in leg were not different among treatments, however, L* was lowest (P < 0.02) in the 20% diet. Thigh and breast showed no color differences among treatments. Sensory attributes were not affected by income, gender, age, or education status for dark meat. Those earning <$10,000 found 20% SPRM white meat less juicy and tender (P < 0.05).  Males had similar scores for tenderness, flavor, and acceptability of white meat, however; 20% diet was less (P < 0.04) juicy. Females found meat from the 20% diet less tender (P < 0.03), less juicy (P < 0.01), less flavorful (P < 0.03), and less acceptable (P < 0.02) than the other diets. Those with and without a college degree found white meat from 20% diet less juicy (P < 0.02), while those without a college degree scored low for tenderness and acceptability (P < 0.004). The 18 – 29 year olds rated white meat from 20% diet less tender (P < 0.03), less juicy (P < 0.03), and acceptable (P < 0.001). The SPRM could be an acceptable alternative to corn in broiler diets.

Keywords: Broiler, Sweet potato root meal, Sensory evaluation, Skin color

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