Effect of dietary supplementation of spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) and thyme (Thymus vulgaris) on carcass composition, meat physical traits, and vitamin B12 content on growing rabbits

Antonella Dalle Zotte, Marco Cullere, Alberto Sartori, Alessandro Dal Bosco, Zsolt Gerencsér, Zsolt Matics, Melinda Kovàcs, Zsolt Szendrő


The aim of this study was to compare the effect and duration of dietary inclusion of 5% spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) and/or 3% thyme (Thymus vulgaris) on growing rabbit carcass composition, meat and bone rheological traits, and the vitamin B12 content of Longissimus dorsi (LD) meat. The study involved 294 maternal line growing rabbits from the Pannon breeding programme. At weaning (5 wk), animals were randomly divided by dietary treatment into 7 groups of 42 rabbits each. A control group (C-C) received a pellet with no supplementation throughout the trial (5-11 wk of age), whereas the other groups were fed diets supplemented with 5% spirulina (S), 3% thyme (T) or with both ingredients (ST) for either the entire growing period (5-11 wk of age; groups: S-S, T-T, ST-ST, respectively), or its final part only (8-11 wk of age; groups: C-S, C-T, C-ST, respectively). Results showed that regardless of the duration of supplementation, spirulina and thyme provided no effect on the traits examined, except for scapular fat content, whose value was higher in the S-S group than in the C-T group (P<0.05). Spirulina was confirmed as a rich source of vitamin B12 that was successfully transferred into LD meat, thus demonstrating its value as an effective natural supplement in producing food fortified with this vital element. Further studies are necessary to clarify the effect of spirulina on carcass fat deposition, bone development, and mineralisation.


Spirulina platensis; Thymus vulgaris; rabbit meat; vitamin B12

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