Consequence of muscle hypertrophy on characteristics of Pectoralis major muscle and breast meat quality of broiler chickens

J Anim Sci. 2007 Aug;85(8):2005-11. doi: 10.2527/jas.2006-398. Epub 2007 Apr 12.


The structural and metabolic characteristics of the pectoralis major (P. major) muscle (i.e., breast muscle) and the quality of the resulting meat were studied in relation to breast muscle fiber development in broiler chickens. Six hundred birds originating from a commercial, grand parental, male heavy line (Hubbard-Europe, Châteaubourg, France) were kept under conventional breeding methods until their usual marketing age of 6 wk. For all birds, the plasma creatine kinase activity and the P. major muscle fiber cross-sectional area (CSA), glycolytic potential, lactate content, pH at 15 min postmortem, as well as the ultimate pH, CIELAB color parameters [lightness (L*), redness (a*), and yellowness (b*)], and drip loss of breast meat, were measured. Increased breast weight and yield were associated with increased fiber CSA, reduced muscle glycolytic potential, and reduced lactate content at 15 min postmortem. Therefore, P. major muscle exhibiting larger fiber CSA exhibited greater pH at 15 min postmortem and ultimate pH, produced breast meat with lower L* and reduced drip loss, and was potentially better adapted to further processing than muscle exhibiting small fiber CSA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chickens / physiology*
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Female
  • Glycogen / analysis
  • Glycogen / metabolism
  • Glycolysis / physiology
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Hypertrophy / veterinary
  • Lactic Acid / analysis
  • Male
  • Meat / standards*
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Pectoralis Muscles / chemistry
  • Pectoralis Muscles / metabolism*
  • Pectoralis Muscles / pathology
  • Phenotype
  • Pigmentation
  • Sex Factors
  • Statistics as Topic


  • Lactic Acid
  • Glycogen
  • Creatine Kinase