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South African Journal of Animal Science

On-line version ISSN 2221-4062
Print version ISSN 0375-1589

Abstract

SHIN, J-S. et al. Effect of betaine and ascorbic acid in drinking water on growth performance and blood biomarkers in meat ducks exposed to heat stress. S. Afr. j. anim. sci. [online]. 2019, vol.49, n.3, pp.417-423. ISSN 2221-4062.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/sajas.v49i3.2.

The aim of this study was to compare the effect of drinking water that contains various levels of ascorbic acid (AA) and betaine (BT) on growth performance and blood biomarkers in meat ducks exposed to heat stress. Six hundred and forty one-day-old Cherry Valley ducks were randomly assigned to one of seven treatment groups: i) control group, drinking water without ascorbic acid or betaine, ii) AA100, drinking water containing ascorbic acid at 100 milligrams per litre, iii) AA200, drinking water containing ascorbic acid at 200 milligrams per litre, iv) AA300, drinking water containing ascorbic acid at 300 milligrams per litre, v) BT400, drinking water containing betaine at 400 milligrams per litre, vi) BT800, drinking water containing betaine at 800 milligrams per litre, and vii) BT1200, drinking water containing betaine at 1200 milligrams per litre. The ducks were exposed to heat stress (11:00 to 17:00, 33 °C to 43 °C, relative humidity 70%, artificially controlled-environment houses) from the 22nd to 42nd days. Ducks from treatment groups AA300 and BT1200 displayed significantly increased bodyweight gains compared with those in the control group. Blood levels of glucose, and activities of aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase in all treatment groups were significantly lower than those observed in the control group. Red blood cell count, platelet number, electrolytes and blood gas concentrations were significantly higher in all treatment groups compared with those in the control group. Blood pH levels in all treatment groups were lower than those in the control group. In conclusion, drinking water containing ascorbic acid or betaine improved the growth performance via biomarker homeostasis in blood of meat ducks exposed to heat stress.

Keywords : body weight gain; blood lipid; red blood cell; electrolytes; blood gas; blood pH.

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