Effects of humic substances supplementation provided through drinking water on performance, carcass traits and meat quality of broilers

J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2010 Feb 1;94(1):78-85. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0396.2008.00886.x. Epub 2009 Jan 13.


The present study aimed at evaluating the effects of different doses of humic substances (HS) in waterer pan on broiler performances and meat quality. For the trial, 480 chicks (ROSS 308) were allocated into four groups (HS0, HS150, HS300 and HS450) of 120 equally mixed-sex birds, each receiving a drinking water supplemented with 0, 150, 300 and 450 ppm of a humic acid (provided by 0.0%, 0.5%, 1.0% and 1.5% of HS, v/v) respectively. At the age of 21 and 42 days, feed consumption and live weight were taken. At the age of 42 days, 16 birds per treatment were slaughtered, dressing percentages, digestive tract traits were evaluated and samples of breast (pectoralis major) and thigh (iliotibialis) meat were taken to evaluate the changes in colour characteristics (CIE L*, a* and b*) and chemical composition. The body weight gain increased by the HS300 in relation to the HS0 and HS450, and decreased by the HS450 in relation to the HS0. The feed consumption of birds in the HS450 and feed efficiency of birds in the HS300 were lower and higher than those in the other treatments respectively. The carcass weight of broilers in the HS150 and HS300 were higher than those of in the HS0 and HS450. The carcass weight decreased by the HS450 in relation to the other treatments. The dressing percentage increased by the HS150 in relation to the HS450. The HS450 resulted in breast and thigh meat colour that were lighter than those found in the HS0 birds. The HS450 increased fat content of thigh meat in relation to the HS0. It was concluded that the humic acid supplementation at 300 ppm and 450 ppm appears to have a measurable impact on live performance improving feed efficiency and lightness of breast and thigh meat colours in broilers respectively.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Animals
  • Body Composition / drug effects*
  • Chickens / growth & development
  • Diet / veterinary
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humic Substances*
  • Meat / standards*
  • Water / chemistry*


  • Humic Substances
  • Water