Effect of dietary Spirulina (Arthrospira) platensis on the growth performance, antioxidant enzyme activity, nutrient digestibility, cecal microflora, excreta noxious gas emission, and breast meat quality of broiler chickens

Poult Sci. 2018 Jul 1;97(7):2451-2459. doi: 10.3382/ps/pey093.


This study examined the effects of dietary Spirulina (Arthrospira) platensis supplementation on growth performance, antioxidant enzyme activity, nutrient digestibility, cecal microflora, excreta noxious gas emission, organ weight and breast meat quality in broiler chickens. In total, 800 Ross 308 male broiler chickens (1-d-old) were randomly divided into 5 dietary treatments with 10 replicate cages (16 birds/replicate) per treatment for 5 wk. The dietary treatments were a control basal diet without Spirulina or with 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, or 1.0% Spirulina. Body weight gain, feed conversion, and/or European production efficiency index improved linearly with supplementation of Spirulina during d 8 to 21, 22 to 35, and overall d 1 to 35 (P < 0.05). Dietary Spirulina supplementation caused a significant increase in the serum enzyme activity of superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase (linear, P < 0.05). Apparent total tract digestibility of dry matter and nitrogen showed a linear increase in Spirulina supplementation (P < 0.05). Cecal Lactobacillus count linearly increased and excreta ammonia gas emission linearly decreased, as dietary Spirulina supplementation increased (P < 0.05). There were no significant effects on relative organ weight and breast meat quality of broilers fed with Spirulina diets; however, 7 d drip loss linearly decreased in treatment groups fed with Spirulina (P < 0.05). These results indicate that adding Spirulina to the diet of broilers can improve antioxidant enzyme activity, dry matter and nitrogen digestibility, cecal Lactobacillus population, excreta ammonia gas emission, and 7 d drip loss of breast meat. In addition, dietary inclusion of 1.0% Spirulina powder might provide a good alternative to improve broiler chicken production.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Cecum / microbiology*
  • Chickens / growth & development
  • Chickens / microbiology*
  • Chickens / physiology*
  • Diet / veterinary
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis
  • Digestion / drug effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Gases / analysis
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects
  • Male
  • Meat / analysis*
  • Pectoralis Muscles / physiology
  • Random Allocation
  • Spirulina / chemistry*


  • Antioxidants
  • Gases