Hen with baby chicks

Sustainable seaweed means healthier chicks

In *All, Agricultural Systems, Environmental Stewardship, Livestock by AgIsAmerica

Americans love chicken: in one year each of us will consume, on average, 85 pounds of the lean meat. Making the popular food even healthier without changing its taste or texture could help fill the nutrient gaps in a lot of people’s diets.

That’s why researchers from Cornell University are looking into a revolutionary process to increase the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in chicken.

Omega-3 is found in many seafoods, seeds and nuts. Boosting your consumption may decrease your risk of chronic diseases, and even prevent obesity. Unfortunately, most Americans don’t eat enough of these nutrients.

The Cornell team is using algae biomass, which is extremely rich in omega-3, to increase the amount found in chicken tissue. After feeding the algae to chickens, the researchers were able to measure increased amounts of omega-3 in the birds’ muscles.

They tested the method by feeding the enhanced meat to mice—often used in experiments to mimic human digestion. The omega-3-fortified chicken meat helped improve the liver health of the mice, and the chickens that had eaten more algae biomass had more omega-3 fatty acids to offer.

This study is very promising for a variety of reasons. First, poultry farmers can now offer a healthier meat without compromising taste. Second, the algae biomass is a byproduct from biofuel production. Finding a constructive purpose for it is sustainable and healthy!

If you want to learn more about the Cornell’s University study, click here to read the full original article.

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