15 Apr 2021
Animals : an open access journal from MDPI;
Several by-products, such as whole cull dates, date stones (also called pits, seeds, kernels), sugar-extracted date pulp, are produced from date fruit processing industries. These by-products, particularly date stone meal represent 10 to 20% of the whole dates are wasted, causing environmental issues. However, the date stone is rich in various nutrients, such as nitrogen-free extract, fiber, fat, and minerals, which could be used as an alternative feed source in poultry nutrition. However, the high fiber content in date stone meal restricts its use in poultry diets. Whole date wastes and date pulp have lower protein, fiber and fat content than those in date stone meal. Several studies have investigated the use of date stone meal and other by-products as a replacement of dietary corn and barley on feed intake, growth, feed efficiency, and nutrient utilization in poultry. The compilation of results obtained from different studies indicates that date fruit by-products, particularly date stone meal, could be incorporated up to 10% levels, replacing corn or barley grains without hampering production performance, and this could reduce the production cost. Moreover, the use of date stone meal at lower levels (5-10%) sometimes shows better growth performance, probably due to the presence of bioactive principles such as antioxidants and phenolic compounds. The use of date stone meal in poultry diets may be practically important under certain circumstances not only under the COVID-19 crisis due to the lockdown of airports, dry ports, ports and traffic restrictions, but also in countries with a limited supply of classical feed resources and which depend on imported ones. Finally, it can recommend that using date stone meal (DSM) up to 5-10% in poultry diets positively affect the productive performance. Due to the variability in the nutritive value of the DSM, developing a formula for metabolizable energy (ME) of DSM = a (intercept) - b (slope) × crude fiber (CF) content should be considered to improve the precision of feed formula for poultry. However, the nutritional value of DSM might not only depend on crude fiber but also on other compounds.