Date of Award
Master of Science
Jennie Ivey, Lannett Edwards
As the global population continues to increase increasing protein efficiency and sustainability is important to ensure proper nutrient and food security for future generations. Two studies investigating the efficiency of broiler chicken production globally are presented. Reducing the amount of excess fat in broilers could increase efficiency by increasing feed conversion rates. Early exposure to the fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) has been shown to reduce fat deposition later in life. Study one investigates the developmental regulation of elongases and desaturases in young and embryonic broiler chickens to determine the tissue and age broiler chicks could efficiently produce EPA and DHA. Targeted RNA sequencing was used to examine expression profiles of subcutaneous adipose tissue -8, -6, -4, +7, and +14 days from hatch. Liver, abdominal, and crop fat were examined at +7 and +14 days. To ensure sustainability globally study two examines methods to increase charcoal efficiency for brooding broilers for small holder farmers in rural Rwanda. Four methods which reflected rising heat back to the chicks were tested. Charcoal use, growth rate, and mortality were measured. Study one found an expression change at +7 day, likely due to dietary changes in fat consumption, alters the pathway broilers could be using to produce EPA and DHA. Even a slight reduction in fat can result in substantial savings for the poultry industry domestically. In Rwanda half house brooding reduced charcoal consumption by >50% leading to greater economic and environmental sustainability.
Mihelic, Robert Ivan, "Broiler chicken development: from genetic regulation to rural Rwandan production. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 2019.