Grass intake and meat oxidative status of geese reared in three different agroforestry systems

Alice Cartoni Mancinelli, Simona Matiolli, Alessandro Dal Bosco, Claudia Ciarelli, Cesare Castellini


The agroforestry system could be considered a dynamic management of the natural resource based on the integration of trees with crops or livestock. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the grass intake and the oxidative status of meat of geese reared in three different agroforestry systems: apple orchard (AO), olives trees (OT) and vineyard (V). Eighty one-day old Romagnola geese of both sexes were divided in four homogeneous groups: control (C), with indoor density of 5 geese/m2 and without pasture access, and the three agroforestry systems (AO, OT, V), with 1 hectare of pasture each. The geese were reared inside a poultry house until 20 days of age. At 21 days of age the animals belonging to AO, OT and V were allowed to outdoor access (pasture), whereas geese of the C group were kept indoor. At 150 days of age, the geese were slaughtered in a commercial slaughterhouse. After 24 h of storage at +4°C the breast and drumstick muscles were analysed to determine the fatty acid profile, the antioxidants content and the oxidative status. All the data were statistically analysed with ANOVA. The results showed that the grazing activity of geese improved the n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids content, the n-6/n-3 ratio and the antioxidant content, especially in geese kept in the agroforestry systems enriched with trees (AO and OT). Indeed, the presence of trees make animals feel protected and stimulated them to explore the pasture and consequently to consume more grass. However, the best oxidative status was exhibited by the C geese. In the other groups the higher antioxidants intake through grass was not able to counteract the higher oxidative thrust and consequently, the meat of outdoor reared geese was characterized by a worst oxidative status. Further research is needed to identify new possible strategies to increase the antioxidant content in the muscle in order to reduce the lipid oxidation.

Keywords: geese, agroforestry system, PUFA, oxidative status


BACH, E. et al. (2020). Soil biodiversity integrates solutions for a sustainable future. Sustainability, 12(7), 2662.

BROOM, D. M. (2019). Animal welfare complementing or conflicting with other sustainability issues. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 219, 104829.

CARTONI MANCINELLI, A. et al. (2019). Rearing Romagnola geese in vineyard: pasture and antioxidant intake, performance, carcass and meat quality. Italian Journal of Animal Science, 18(1), 372-380.

CARTONI MANCINELLI, A. et al. (2020). Performance, behavior, and welfare status of six different organically reared poultry genotypes. Animals, 10(4), 550.

CASTELLINI, C. et al. (2016). Adaptation to organic rearing system of eight different chicken genotypes: behaviour, welfare and performance. Italian Journal of Animal Science, 15(1), 37-46.

COSENTINO, C. et al. (2015). Low vs high “water footprint assessment” diet in milk production: a comparison between triticale and corn silage based diets. Emirates Journal of Food and Agriculture, 27(3), 312-317.

DAL BOSCO, A. et al. (2012). Fatty acid composition of meat and estimated indices of lipid metabolism in different poultry genotypes reared under organic system. Poultry Science, 91(8), 2039-2045.

DAL BOSCO, A. et al. (2014). Effect of range enrichment on performance, behavior, and forage intake of free-range chickens. Journal of Applied Poultry Research, 23(2), 137-145.

DAL BOSCO, A. et al. (2016). Transfer of bioactive compounds from pasture to meat in organic free-range chickens. Poultry Science, 95, 2464–2471.

DAL BOSCO, A. et al. (2019). The antioxidant effectiveness of liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra L.) extract administered as dietary supplementation and/or as a burger additive in rabbit meat. Meat Science, 158, 107921.

DE BOER, I. J. M. et al. (2011). Greenhouse gas mitigation in animal production: towards an integrated life cycle sustainability assessment. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 3(5), 423-431.

DIRECTIVE, W. F. (2000). Water Framework Directive. Journal reference OJL, 327, 1-73.

EC (European Commission). (2002). Implementation of Council Directive 91/676/EEC concerning the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources; synthesis from year 2000 Member States reports. OOPEC, Luxembourg, 44 pp.

EC (European Commission). (2008). Commission Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 of 5 September 2008 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products with regard to organic production, labelling and control. Official Journal L 250, 1-84.

EC (European Commission). (2011). Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, The Council, The European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, Brussels, 3.5.2011COM(2011) 244 final.

EU REGULATION. (2007). Council Regulation (EC) No 834/07 on organic production and labelling of organic products and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91.

FAO. (2010). Fats and fatty acids in human nutrition. Report of an expert consultation, 10-14 November 2008, Geneva.

FAO. (2016). State of the World’s Forests 2016. Forests and agriculture: land-use challenges and opportunities. FAO, Rome.

GATELLIER, P., MERCIER, Y. and RENERRE, M. (2004). Effect of diet finishing mode (pasture or mixed diet) on antioxidant status of Charolais bovine meat. Meat Science, 67, 385–394. 10.1016/j.meatsci.2003.11.009

HEWAVITHARANA, A. K., LANARI, M. C. and BECU, C. (2004). Simultaneous determination of vitamin E homologs in chicken meat by liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection. Journal of Chromatography A, 1025(2), 313–317.

HUGHES, B. O. and DUN, P. (1983). Production and behaviour of laying domestic fowls in outside pens. Applied Animal Ethololgy, 11, 201.

J. D. and ACKMAN, R. G. (1992). Capillary column gas chromatographic method for analysis of encapsulated fish oils and fish oil ethyl esters: Collaborative study. Journal of AOAC International, 75, 488–506.

JOUKI, M., RABBANI, M. and SHAKOURI, M. J. (2020). Effects of pectin and tomato paste as a natural antioxidant on inhibition of lipid oxidation and production of functional chicken breast sausage. Food Science and Technology, In press.

KE, P. J., CERVANTES, E. and ROBLES-MARTINEZ, C. (1984). Determination of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) in fish tissue by an improved distillation–spectrophotometric method. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 35(11), 1248-1254.

LANTINGA E. et al. (2004) In: Penning P. D., editor. Herbage Intake Handbook. 2nd ed. Reading, UK: The British Grassland Society, p. 23–52.
LIU, H. W. and ZHOU, D. W. (2013). Influence of pasture intake on meat quality, lipid oxidation, and fatty acid composition of geese. Journal of Animal Science, 91(2), 764-771.

MASSACCESI, L. et al. (2019). Geese reared in vineyard: soil, grass and animals interaction. Animals, 9(4), 179.

MATTIOLI, S. et al. (2017). Adaptive response to exercise of fast-growing and slow-growing chicken strains: blood oxidative status and non-enzymatic antioxidant defense. Poultry Science, 96(11), 4096-4102.

MUGNAI, C., DAL BOSCO, A. and CASTELLINI, C. (2009). Effect of rearing system and season on the performance and egg characteristics of Ancona laying hens. Italian Journal of Animal Science, 8(2), 175-188.

NAIR, P. V. R. and GARRITY, D. P. N. (2012). Agroforestry research and development: the way forward. Agroforestry -The Future of Global Land Use, 515-531.

PAOLOTTI, L. et al. (2016). Combining livestock and tree crops to improve sustainability in agriculture: a case study using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach. Journal of Cleaner Production, 131, 351-363.

PATRIZI, N. et al. (2018). Sustainability of agro-livestock integration: implications and results of Emergy evaluation. Science of the Total Environment, 622, 1543-1552.

PLIENINGER, T. et al. (2016). The driving forces of landscape change in Europe: A systematic review of the evidence. Land Use Policy, 57, 204-214.

PONTE, P. I. P. et al. (2008). Influence of pasture intake on the fatty acid composition, and cholesterol, tocopherols, and tocotrienols content in meat from free-range broilers. Poultry Science, 87(1), 80-88.

ROSATI, A. et al. (2012). Olive agroforestry: an inverse approach to agroforestry. In: Mosquera-Losada MR, Pantera A, Rosati A, Amaral J, Smith J, Dupraz C (eds). What priorities for European agroforestry. Book of abstracts of the 1rst European agroforestry conference, Brussels. 9–10 Oct 2012. ISBN:978-84-96351-79-0

SAN-MIGUEL-AYANZ, J. et al. (2017). Forest fires in Europe, Middle East and North Africa. ISBN 978-92-79-92831-4,
SOSSIDOU, E. N. et al. (2015). Effects of pasture management on poultry welfare and meat quality in organic poultry production systems. World‘s Poultry Science Journal, 71, 375–384.

SOW, A. et al. (2020). Birds and bats contribute to natural regulation of the millet head miner in tree-crop agroforestry systems. Crop Protection, 132, 105127.
StataCorp. 2015. Statistical software, release 14. College Station (TX): StataCorp.

TINELLO, F. et al. (2017). Co-fermentation of onion and whey: A promising symbiotic combination. Journal of Functional Foods, 39, 233-237.

TORRALBA, M. et al. (2016). Do European agroforestry systems enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services? A meta-analysis. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 230, 150-161.



Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Acta Fytotechnica et Zootechnica

© Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, Faculty of Agrobiology and Food Resources