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Animal Feed Science and Technology 194 (2014) 131135

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Animal Feed Science and Technology


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/anifeedsci

Effect of oolong tea (Camellia sinensis) powder particle size on


growth performance, fat deposition, meat quality and
antioxidant activity in meat ducks
P. Wu 1 , C. Wen 1 , Z.X. Leng, Y.M. Zhou
College of Animal Science and Technology, Nanjing Agricultural University, No. 1 Weigang, Nanjing 210095, Jiangsu, China

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 21 January 2014
Received in revised form 6 May 2014
Accepted 22 May 2014
Keywords:
Oolong tea powder
Particle size
Meat duck
Fat deposition
Meat quality
Antioxidant activity

a b s t r a c t
An experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of oolong tea (Camellia sinensis) powder (OTP) particle size on growth performance, fat deposition, meat quality and antioxidant
activity of ducks. A total of 252 Cherry Valley meat ducks (16 days old) with similar initial body weight (744 6 g) were selected and randomly divided into three groups with
six replicates of fourteen ducks (seven males and seven females) each and fed a control
diet or one of two test diets supplemented with 1% OTP with two different mean particle
sizes categorised as coarse (357 m) and ne (16 m) until 42 days of age. Treatments did
not affect growth performance of ducks. Abdominal fat yield, subcutaneous fat thickness,
intramuscular fat width and serum triglyceride (TG) concentration were reduced (P < 0.05)
by ne but not coarse OTP. Both forms of OTP decreased (P < 0.05) drip loss of pectoralis
major muscle, but only ne OTP increased (P < 0.05) superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity and decreased (P < 0.05) malondialdehyde (MDA) content in serum. In conclusion, ne
OTP would be more effective in decreasing fat deposition and improving meat quality and
antioxidant activity in meat ducks.
2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
Tea (Camellia sinensis) is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, and it has been used for medicinal
purposes for centuries. It contains many bioactive components, such as catechins, caffeine and amino acids (Wu and Wei,
2002). The application of tea in animals has recently received some attention due to its biological characteristics, such
as hypolipidemic, antioxidant and antimicrobial activities (Hamer, 2007). According to the degree of fermentation, tea is
classied into green tea (unfermented), oolong tea (semi-fermented), and black tea (fully fermented). Green tea has been
extensively studied as a feed additive to regulate fat deposition and meat quality in animals (Biswas and Wakita, 2001; Erener
et al., 2011; Hossain et al., 2012). It has been reported that oolong tea contains several low molecular weight antioxidants
(Zhu et al., 2002), and exerts stronger hypolipidemic effect than green tea in rats (Kuo et al., 2005), thus it would be valuable

Abbreviations: ADFI, average daily feed intake; ADG, average daily gain; FCR, feed conversion ratio; HDL-C, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol; LDL-C,
low-density lipoprotein cholesterol; MDA, malondialdehyde; OTP, oolong tea powder; SOD, superoxide dismutase; T-AOC, total antioxidant capacity; TC,
total cholesterol; TG, triglyceride.
Corresponding author. Tel.: +86 025 84396067; fax: +86 025 84395314.
E-mail address: zhouym6308@163.com (Y.M. Zhou).
1
Both authors contributed equally to this work.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anifeedsci.2014.05.009
0377-8401/ 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

132

P. Wu et al. / Animal Feed Science and Technology 194 (2014) 131135

to evaluate the effect of dietary oolong tea in animals. However, there is limited literature on the effects of oolong tea. In
addition, particle size is an important factor affecting the bioavailability of tea ingredients (Li et al., 2008; Maeda-Yamamoto
et al., 2011). Fine grinding was reported to increase extraction rate of polyphenols from green tea leaves, which enhanced
their scavenging capacity on hydroxyl radicals (Hu et al., 2012), but few studies have been performed on the effects of tea
particle size on the growth performance of animals. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of oolong
tea particle size on growth performance, fat deposition, meat quality and antioxidant activity in meat ducks.

2. Materials and methods


2.1. Husbandry, diets and experimental design
All procedures were approved by Nanjing Agricultural University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.
The Tieguanyin oolong tea (C. sinensis) used in this study was purchased from a local market and contained 12.42%
polyphenols, 5.76% caffeine, and 3.86% amino acids as dry matter basis. It was pulverized to powder with different mean
particle sizes categorised as coarse (357 m) and ne (16 m) by a jet mill (TC-20, Nanjing LT Ultra-ne Powder Technique
Co., Ltd, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China). Mean particle sizes of oolong tea powder (OTP) were measured by the laser diffraction
scattering method (Mastersizer 2000, Malvern Instruments Ltd., Worcestershire, UK).
One-day-old Cherry Valley meat ducks were obtained from a local hatchery and fed a commercial starter diet containing
216 g/kg crude protein and 12.0 MJ/kg apparent metabolisable energy to 15 days of age. At 16 days of age, a total of 252
ducks with similar body weight (744 6 g) were selected and randomly divided into 3 groups with 6 replicates of 14 ducks (7
males and 7 females) in each, and fed a control nisher diet (165 g/kg crude protein and 12.4 MJ/kg apparent metabolisable
energy) or one of two test diets supplemented with 1% coarse or ne OTP until 42 days of age. Ingredient composition
and calculated nutrient content of the basal diet were shown in Table 1. Ducks were allowed free access to pellet feed and
water on a plastic mesh that was placed 0.4 m above the oor. Continuous light was maintained and the temperature of the
experimental room was set at 26 to 28 C initially and then reduced by 2 C per week to a nal temperature of 20 to 22 C. At
42 days of age, ducks were weighed and feed consumption was recorded by replicate to calculate average daily gain (ADG),
average daily feed intake (ADFI) and feed conversion ratio (FCR, feed intake/weight gain). Mortality was also recorded.
At 42 days of age, one male duck per replicate was randomly selected and weighed after feed deprivation for 12 h. Blood
samples (about 5 mL each) were taken from wing vein and centrifuged at 3000 g for 15 min at 4 C to separate serum, which
was frozen at 20 C for further analysis. After blood collection, ducks were killed by cervical dislocation. Pectoralis major
muscle samples were immediately taken and stored at 4 C for meat quality analysis. Abdominal fat yield was calculated as
the percentage of eviscerated weight. Subcutaneous fat thickness and intramuscular fat width were measured by a vernier
caliper as previously described (Wu et al., 2012).

Table 1
Ingredient composition and calculated nutrient content of the basal diet (g/kg, as-fed basis unless otherwise stated).
Item
Ingredients
Maize
Rice bran
Wheat middlings
Soybean meal (460 g CPa /kg)
Meat and bone meal
Maize gluten meal
Soybean oil
Limestone
Dicalcium phosphate
l-Lysine HCl
dl-Methionine
Premixb
Calculated nutrient content
Apparent metabolisable energy (MJ/kg)
Crude protein
Lysine
Methionine
Total sulfur amino acids
Calcium
Available phosphorus
a

1642 d
425
220
156
96
25
35
12
12
5
5
1
8
12.35
165
10
3.8
6.5
8.3
3.2

Crude protein.
Supplied per kilogram of diet: transretinyl acetate, 11,250 IU; cholecalciferol, 3000 IU; all-rac--tocopherol acetate, 37.5 mg; menadione, 3 mg; thiamin,
4 mg; riboavin, 7.2 mg; nicotinamide, 55 mg; choline chloride, 1000 mg; calcium pantothenate, 60 mg; pyridoxineHCl, 4 mg; biotin, 0.2 mg; folic acid,
1 mg; cobalamin, 0.02 mg; Fe (ferrous sulfate), 96 mg; Cu (copper sulfate), 7.5 mg; Mn (manganese sulfate), 110 mg; Zn (zinc oxide), 84 mg; I (calcium
iodate), 0.4 mg; Se (sodium selenite), 0.3 mg.
b

P. Wu et al. / Animal Feed Science and Technology 194 (2014) 131135

133

Table 2
Growth performance of meat ducks from 16 to 42 days of age.
OTPa particle size

Item

Average daily gain (g/d)


Average daily feed intake (g/d)
Feed conversion ratio
a
b

Control

Coarse

Fine

S.E.M.b

P value

98.6
214
2.17

98.0
211
2.16

97.9
216
2.21

0.6
2
0.01

0.897
0.556
0.134

Oolong tea powder. Mean particle size of coarse and ne oolong tea powder was 357 and 16 m, respectively.
Standard error of means (n = 6).

2.2. Meat quality assay


At 45 min and 24 h postmortem, the pectoralis major muscle pH was measured as previously described (Wang et al., 2013).
The colour measurement was evaluated at 45 min after slaughter by a colourimeter (Minolta CR-400, Konica Minolta, Tokyo,
Japan) using the CIELAB system (L* = lightness; a* = redness; b* = yellowness). Drip loss and cooking loss were measured by
the methods of Liu et al. (2010) and shear force was measured using a C-LM3 texture analyser as described (Huang et al.,
2007).
2.3. Measurement of serum lipids
The concentrations of triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and lowdensity lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in serum were analysed by commercial kits (Beijing BHKT Clinical Reagent Co. Ltd.,
Beijing, China).
2.4. Antioxidant activity assay
The malondialdehyde (MDA) content, superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, and total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC) in
serum were determined using commercial kits (Nanjing Jiancheng Bioengineering Institute, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China).
2.5. Statistical analysis
All data were analysed by one-way ANOVA (SPSS, 2008). Differences among treatments were examined by Duncans
multiple range test, which were considered to be signicant at P < 0.05.
3. Results
3.1. Growth performance
Mortality was 2.7% and not related to treatment (data not shown). No differences were observed in ADG, ADFI or FCR
among groups (Table 2).
3.2. Body fat deposition and serum lipids
Abdominal fat yield, subcutaneous fat thickness, intramuscular fat width and serum TG level were reduced (P < 0.05) by
ne but not coarse OTP (Table 3). No differences were observed in the concentrations of TC, HDL-C or LDL-C in serum.
3.3. Meat quality and serum antioxidant activity
Drip loss of pectoralis major muscle was reduced (P < 0.05) by both coarse and ne OTP (Table 4). However, dietary
treatments did not affect the pH value (45 min or 24 h postmortem), colour characteristics, cooking loss or shear force of
pectoralis major muscle. Increased (P < 0.05) SOD activity and decreased (P < 0.05) MDA content were observed in serum of
ducks fed ne but not coarse OTP. Serum T-AOC did not differ among groups (Table 5).
4. Discussion
This study demonstrated that supplementation of 1% OTP with different particle sizes had no signicant effect on growth
performance of meat ducks. This nding is not consistent with the data of Kuo et al. (2005) who reported that the body
weight of rats fed a diet containing 4% OTP for 30 weeks was lower than that of the control rats. Therefore, it can be inferred
that a short-term feeding of OTP at a low inclusion level may not inuence the growth performance of ducks. Shomali et al.

134

P. Wu et al. / Animal Feed Science and Technology 194 (2014) 131135

Table 3
Fat deposition and serum lipids of meat ducks at 42 days of age.
OTPa particle size

Item

Fat deposition
Abdominal fat yieldc (g/kg)
Subcutaneous fat thickness (mm)
Intramuscular fat width (mm)
Serum lipids (mmol/L)
Triglyceride
Total cholesterol
High-density lipoprotein cholesterol
Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol

Control

Coarse

Fine

S.E.M.b

P value

18.6x
5.34x
7.68x

18.4x
5.27x
7.13x,y

14.4y
4.44y
5.90y

0.7
0.16
0.29

0.015
0.030
0.015

0.22x
4.58
1.73
3.10

0.16x,y
4.86
1.54
2.85

0.11y
4.13
1.68
2.94

0.02
0.16
0.05
0.12

0.036
0.212
0.295
0.743

xy

Means within a row with different superscripts differ signicantly at P < 0.05.
Oolong tea powder. Mean particle size of coarse and ne oolong tea powder was 357 and 16 m, respectively.
b
Standard error of means (n = 6).
c
Abdominal fat yield was calculated as the percentage of eviscerated weight.
a

Table 4
Meat quality of meat ducks at 42 days of age.
OTPa particle size

Item

Luminance
Redness
Yellowness
pH45 min
pH24 h
Drip loss (g/kg)
Cooking loss (g/kg)
Shear force (kg)
xy
a
b

Control

Coarse

Fine

S.E.M.b

P value

37.2
16.1
7.00
5.97
5.77
74.8x
381
4.13

38.1
15.2
7.53
5.92
5.77
54.5y
371
3.20

37.8
16.0
6.82
5.99
5.76
49.8y
376
3.09

0.5
0.3
0.21
0.03
0.02
3.7
5
0.24

0.818
0.470
0.374
0.674
0.913
0.005
0.755
0.164

Means within a row with different superscripts differ signicantly at P < 0.05.
Oolong tea powder. Mean particle size of coarse and ne oolong tea powder was 357 and 16 m, respectively.
Standard error of means (n = 6).

Table 5
Serum antioxidant activity of meat ducks at 42 days of age.
OTPa particle size

Item
Control
Superoxide dismutase (U/mL)
Malondialdehyde (nmol/mL)
Total antioxidant capacity (U/mL)

126
3.62x
11.7

Coarse
x,y

147
3.17x,y
13.8

Fine
x

157
2.96y
12.5

S.E.M.b

P value

6
0.13
0.6

0.029
0.045
0.362

xy

Means within a row with different superscripts differ signicantly at P < 0.05.
Oolong tea powder. Mean particle size of coarse and ne oolong tea powder was 357 and 16 m, respectively.
b
Standard error of means (n = 6).
a

(2012) also reported that supplementation of 1% green tea powder did not affect growth performance of broilers from 21 to
35 days of age.
The suppressive effect of tea or its extracts on fat accumulation has been demonstrated in animals (Bajerska et al., 2011;
Huang et al., 2013; Tian et al., 2013). In the present study, ne OTP decreased abdominal fat yield, subcutaneous fat thickness,
intramuscular fat width and serum TG concentration in ducks, which may be partly due to the enhancing effect of caffeine
in OTP on lipolysis in adipose tissue, and to the inhibitory action of some other substance in OTP on pancreatic lipase activity
(Han et al., 1999). Coarse OTP had no signicant effect on fat deposition, implying that bioavailability of lipolytic components
in coarse OTP was less than those in ne OTP. It has been reported that the bioavailability of tea components can be improved
by reducing the particle size of green tea in rats (Maeda-Yamamoto et al., 2011). Tea catechins are present in mesophyll but
not epidermal cells (Suzuki et al., 2003), thus coarse grinding may not be able to thoroughly break up the mesophyll cell
walls of tea leaves. The optimal particle size of OTP for reducing fat deposition in meat ducks needs further investigation.
Supplemental OTP with different sizes decreased drip loss of pectoralis major muscle. This can be explained by the
antioxidant activity of OTP, which can decrease lipid oxidation, enhance integrity of cellular membrane and consequently
improve the water-holding capacity of meat (Tang et al., 2000; Zhong et al., 2009). However, dietary treatments did not
affect meat colour, pH values, cooking loss or shear force, which is consistent with previous research (Sarker et al., 2010).
The antioxidant activity of oolong tea has been reviewed previously (Chen et al., 2010). In this study, ne OTP increased
SOD activity and decreased MDA content in serum, which may contribute to lower lipid accumulation (Mori and Hasegawa,

P. Wu et al. / Animal Feed Science and Technology 194 (2014) 131135

135

2003). Deng et al. (1998) also reported that dietary green and black tea increased SOD activity and decreased MDA content
in serum of rats, whereas tea particle size was not reported in their study. The lack of response to coarse OTP is consistent
with the data of fat deposition.
5. Conclusions
The present study demonstrated that supplementation of 1% OTP with different sizes had no signicant effect on growth,
while particle size affected the efcacy of dietary OTP in meat ducks. Fine but not coarse OTP decreased fat deposition and
serum TG level. Our data also revealed that only ne OTP decreased drip loss of pectoralis major muscle and serum MDA
content, and increased serum SOD activity. Therefore, ne OTP would be more effective in decreasing fat deposition and
improving meat quality and antioxidant activity in meat ducks.
Conict of interest statement
All authors approve the submission of this manuscript and declare no conict of interest. The manuscript has not been
published previously, and not under consideration for publication elsewhere.
Acknowledgements
This study was funded by Xuzhou Hengjie Feed Company (Xuzhou, Jiangsu, China). The technical assistance of our
labmates are gratefully acknowledged.
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