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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Oxygen radicals in farm animals. Physiological effects and consequences on animal products

INRA Prod. Anim., 15(1), 67-82.


INRA, Unité de recherches sur les Herbivores, Theix, 63122 St Genès Champanelle


Oxygen radicals are ubiquitous in the life span ofmammals. They carry an unbalanced electron to protonratio, which provides them with a very active affinitytowards cell components and a great variety of impactson oxido-reductive processes, which are required byliving organisms for their development. They are continuouslyformed and originate, in particular, when electronsescape from the respiratory chain and combinewith oxygen. Various stresses increase their flux, destroyradical trapping agents (vitamines, glutathione,etc) and thus increase the animal’s requirements of thelatter. They also alter cellular structures. Many featuresof animal functions may then be affected, directly(immediately after stress) or indirectly (progressiveand long term exhaustion of the organism) : reductionof sperm function or of female fertility, death ofembryos, poor survival of new-borns, low growth rates,carcasses and meats of a lower quality than expectedfrom the lineage of the animals with a lower shelf-life,and reduction of the contents of a series of componentsrequired to sustain human health at the best. Greatcare thus has to be applied to respect a good equilibriumbetween the attack and defense of the organism.

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