The Effect of Dietary Selenium Source and Vitamin E Levels on Performance of Male Broilers

  • Choct, M. (School of Rural Science and Agriculture - University of New England) ;
  • Naylor, A.J. (Alltech Biotechnology (Australia) Pty Ltd.)
  • Received : 2003.10.06
  • Accepted : 2004.03.30
  • Published : 2004.07.01


Selenium and vitamin E are micronutrients essential for normal health and maintenance in poultry. They are necessary in preventing free radical damage to phospholipid membranes, enzymes and other important molecules. Two experiments were conducted in a semi-commercial environment to examine the effect of Se source and vitamin E level in diet on broiler performance and meat quality. Increasing vitamin E from 50 IU to 100 IU did not affect growth performance of broilers although the 24 h drip-loss was tended to be reduced (p=0.06). There was an interaction between vitamin E and the source of Se in glutathione peroxidase activity (GSH-Px) and Se concentration in excreta. Increasing vitamin E from 50 IU to 100 IU elevated GSH-Px and Se concentration in excreta by 42 IU/g Hb and 0.9 ppm for the organic Se group, respectively, but reduced GSH-Px and Se concentration in excreta by 16 IU/g Hb and 1.3 ppm for inorganic group, respectively. Vitamin E played no role in the feather coverage of the birds when scored on day 37. Organic Se is more effective in improving feather score and 24 h drip-loss, with a markedly higher deposition rate in breast muscle and a lower excretion rate in the excreta (p<0.05) compared to the inorganic Se source. Both vitamin E and the source of Se did not affect (p>0.05) the energy utilisation by birds.


Organic Selenium;Inorganic Selenium;Meat Quality;Poultry


  1. Mervyn, L. 1985. The Dictionary of Minerals, the Complete Guide to Minerals and Mineral Therapy. Lothian Publishing, Melbourne, Australia. pp. 173-177.
  2. Edens, F. W. 1996. Organic selenium: From feathers to muscle integrity to drip loss: Five years onward: No more selenitel Biotechnology in the Feed Industry. Proc. Alltech's 12th Annual Sym. (Ed. T. P. Lyons and K. A. Jacques). Nottingham United Press, Nottingham, UK. pp. 165-185.
  3. Sunde, R. A. 1994. Intracellular Glutathione Peroxidases-Structure, Regulation and Function. Selenium in Biology and Human Health. (Ed. R. F. Burk). Springer-Verlag, New York, USA. pp. 45-79.
  4. Cantor, A. H., M. L. Scott and T. Noguchi. 1975. Biological Availability of Selenium in Feedstuffs and Selenium Compounds for Prevention of Exudative Diathesis in Chicks. J. Nutr. 105:96-105.
  5. Kim, Y. Y. and D. C. Mahan. 2003. Biological aspects of selenium in farm animals. Asian-Aust. J. Anim. Sci. 16(3):435-444.
  6. Choct, M., A. J. Naylor and N. Reinke. 2003. Dietary source and level of selenium affect broiler performance. Br. Poult. Sci. (submitted).
  7. Whanger, P. D. and J. A. Butler. 1988. Effects of various dietary levels of selenium as selenite or selenomethionine on tissue selenium levels and glutathione peroxidase activity in rats. J. Nutr. 118:846-852.
  8. Surai, P. F. 2002. Selenium in poultry nutrition: A new look at an old element. 1. Antioxidant properties, deficiency and toxicity. World’s Poult. Sci. J. 58B:333-347.
  9. Mitsumoto, M., R. N. Arnold, D. M. Schaefer and R. G. Cassens. 1995. Dietary vitamin e supplementation shifted weight loss from drip loss to cooking loss in fresh beef longissimus during display. J. Anim. Sci. 73:2289-2294.
  10. Naylor, A. J. and M. Choct. 2000. Effects of selenium source and level on performance, mortality and meat quality in male broilers. Proc. Aust. Poult. Sci. Sym. 12:125-128.
  11. Smith, A. M. and M. F. Picciano. 1987. Relative bioavailability of seleno-compounds in the laboratory rat. J. Nutr. 117:725-731.
  12. Aseltine, M. S. 1992. Critical role of selenium and vitamin e in nutrition and immunity: The potential for improving selenium availability by microbial accumulation. Biotechnology in the Feed Industry. Proc. Alltech’s 8th Annual Sym. (Ed. T. P. Lyons and K. A. Jacques). Nottingham United Press Nottingham, UK. pp. 23-31.
  13. Mahan, D. C. and N. A. Parrett. 1996. Evaluating the efficacy of selenium-enriched yeast and sodium selenite on tissue selenium retention and serum glutathione peroxidase activity in grower and finisher swine. J. Anim. Sci. 74:2967-2974.
  14. National Research Council. 1994. Nutrient Requirements of Poultry. (9th Edition). Subcomittee on Poultry Nutrition. National Academy Press, Washington, USA. pp. 27-31.
  15. Pherson, B. G. 1993. Selenium in nutrition with special reference to biopotency of organic and inorganic selenium compounds. Biotechnology in the Feed Industry. Proc. Alltechs 9th Annual Symposium. (Ed. T. P. Lyons and K. A. Jacques). Nottingham United Press, Nottingham, UK. pp. 71-89.

Cited by

  1. Challenges and Opportunities in Finfish Nutrition vol.68, pp.2, 2006,
  2. Comparison of Different Forms of Dietary Selenium Supplementation on Growth Performance, Meat Quality, Selenium Deposition, and Antioxidant Property in Broilers vol.143, pp.1, 2011,
  3. Turnover of Se in adequately fed chickens using Se-75 as a tracer vol.98, pp.3, 2013,
  4. Sources and levels of selenium on breast meat quality of broilers vol.44, pp.9, 2014,
  5. Desempenho, morfometria duodenal e histopatologia do fígado de frangos de corte alimentados com dietas contendo diferentes níveis de selênio orgânico em condições de estresse calórico vol.16, pp.2, 2015,
  6. Selenium as a Feed Supplement for Heat-Stressed Poultry: a Review vol.165, pp.2, 2015,
  7. Effects of Dietary Selenium and Vitamin E on Growth Performance, Meat Yield, and Selenium Content and Lipid Oxidation of Breast Meat of Broilers Reared Under Heat Stress vol.169, pp.1, 2016,
  8. Influence of selenium source on the performance, feathering and meat quality of broilers vol.5, pp.2049-257X, 2017,
  9. Effects of dietary selenium-yeast concentrations on growth performance and carcass composition of ducks vol.57, pp.8, 2017,
  10. Vitamin E and organic selenium for broilers from 22 to 42 days old: performance and carcass traits vol.89, pp.2, 2017,