Genetic selection for rapid body growth in broiler chickens has resulted in adverse effects on the skeletal system exemplified by a higher rate of cortical fractures in leg bones. Strontium (Sr) has been reported to have beneficial effects on bone formation and strength. We supplemented the diet of 300-day-old chicks with increasing dosages of Sr (0%, 0.12%, or 0.24%) to study the capacity of the element to improve bone quality and mechanical integrity. Treatment with Sr increased cortical bone volume and reduced bone porosity as measured by micro-computed tomography. The higher level of Sr significantly reduced bone Ca content (34.7%) relative to controls (37.2%), suggesting that Sr replaced some of the Ca in bone. Material properties determined by the three-point bending test showed that bone in the Sr-treated groups withstood greater deformation prior to fracture. Load to failure and ultimate stress were similar across groups. Our results indicate that Sr treatment in rapidly growing chickens induced positive effects on bone volume but did not improve the breaking strength of long bones.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine