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Eleonora Erika Cappone

Phd thesis

Vegetable by-products in poultry nutrition: a tool to promote the circular economy


Scientific background/State of the art

The current economic model is considered linear, as it is based on producing, using and finally discarding a determined good[1]. The circular economy, in contrast with the above cited linear economy, is gaining more attention due to the current global challenges and it relies on the concept of indefinitely maximizing resources, leading to minimum or zero wastes[2]. Among the numerous solutions currently presented in literature, one of the most effective is the re-use of byproducts deriving from the food chain supply as feed for livestock[3]. Regarding the poultry nutrition, only few studies that focus on the use of vegetable by-products (VB) are available. Each year, billions of tons of wine pomace originating from the wine industry [4] and apple pomace originating from the apple juice industry are discarded[5]. Fruit pomaces are important sources of carbohydrates, pectin, dietary fiber, minerals, polyphenols and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA)[6]. These natural antioxidants and PUFA are proved to be effective in eggs and poultry meat production, however, few studies analyze the influence of fruit pomaces (especially grapes and apples) on the growth performance, nutritional values, intestinal morphology, gut microbiota and meat lipid oxidation of chickens[7][8][9][10]. Even lesser scientific papers are available regarding the influence of fruit pomace on the performance traits of laying hens, including their effects on the eggs. Not only is this concept extended to several types of fruits and vegetables, but also to other types of VB, such as hazelnut skins. The nutritional profile of hazelnut skins is defined by high values of dietary fiber, unsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols[11]. Hazelnut skins mainly derive from the pastry industry and Italy is the second main producer on a global scale[12]. In literature, no studies are available on the use of hazelnut skins in poultry nutrition.

Aims and innovative aspects

Since the concepts of circular economy and territoriality are gaining more attention, it would be interesting and novel to evaluate the effects of different VB on the meat and eggs of two Piedmontese chicken breeds: Bianca di Saluzzo (BS) and Bionda Piemontese (BP). These two breeds are rustic, medium-slow growing chickens and are well adapted to free-range farming systems. They are reared both for meat and eggs production and the BS chicken is recognized by the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity as an Italian presidium. This project is aimed at analyzing and promoting the effects of VB on medium-slow growing chickens, such as the BS and the BP.

The specific objectives for this project are:

  • decrease the environmental impact of the fruit and hazelnut industry

  • improve the animals’ welfare

  • improve the quality of the meat and eggs and the shelf life of these products, thanks to the nutraceutical and antioxidant properties of the vegetable by-products

  • increase the perception of consumers on the challenges of sustainability, circular economy and territoriality.
    The innovative aspects are:

  •  the preliminary characterization of different types of VB

  •  the inclusion of the selected VB in poultry nutrition

  • the use of a multidisciplinary approach.


Main techniques

The project will be divided into the following phases:

  • preliminary analysis on the selected VB to determine the nutritional profile and the bioactive components.

  • diet formulations with different percentages of inclusion of the selected VB.

  • in vivo trial, where the animals will be allocated, based on their sex and weight, in homogeneous pens. Males will be reared for meat production and females for eggs production. During the experimental trial, different growth performances will be evaluated (body weight, body weight gain, average daily feed intake and feed conversion ratio). At slaughter, samples from the gastrointestinal tract of males will be collected to evaluate if the VB could benefit or alter the normal physiology. The organs weights will be recorded, as well as the chilled carcass weight (24h after the slaughter).

  • meat and eggs quality analyses will be conducted to evaluate the physical, chemical and organoleptical traits, focusing on the antioxidant capacity of the VB. Microbiological analyses will be conducted regarding the shelf life of the products.

  • panel tests will be conducted to evaluate the sensorial properties of the meat and eggs.

    All tests will be conducted following the authorization of the Veterinary Bioethical Committee of the University of Turin to ensure the welfare of the animals throughout the experimental trials.


Expected results and possible developments

It is expected that the VB, at a proper level of inclusion, will benefit the animal’s health (especially the gut health) and the meat and eggs quality, by also increasing their shelf life. The project will re-evaluate the VB that were once considered a waste, leading to a more sustainable supply chain and a lower environmental impact



[1] Robiana M., Villar J., Pereira E.T.; The determinants for circular economy in Europe; Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 27; 2020.
[2] Sherwood J.; The significance of biomass in a circular economy; Bioresource Technology, 300; 2020.
[3] Pinotti L., Luciano A., Ottoboni M., Manoni M., Ferrari L., Marchis D., Tretola M.; Recycling food leftovers in feed as opportunity to increase the sustainability of livestock production; Journal of Cleaner Production, 294; 2021.
[4] Beres C., Costa G.N.S., Cabezudo I., da Silva-James N.K., Teles A.S.C., Cruz A.P.G., Mellinger-Silva C., Tonon R.V., Cabral L.M.C., Freitas S.P.; Towards integral utilization of grape pomace from winemaking process: a review; Waste Management, 68; 2017.
[5] Shalini R., Gupta D.K.; Utilization of pomace from apple processing industries: a review; Journal of Food Science and Technology, 47; 2010.
[6] Alfaia C.M., Costa M.M., Lopes P.A., Pestana J.M., Prates J.A.; Use of grape by-products to enhance meat quality and nutritional value in monogastrics; Foods, 11; 2022.
[7] Colombino E., Zdunczyk Z., Jankowski J., Cocolin L.S., Schiavone A., Biasato I., Prieto- Botella D., Karlinska E., Kosmala M., Ognik K., Capucchio M.T., Juśkiewicz J.; Effects of feeding dried fruit pomaces as additional fibre-phenolic compound on meat quality, blood chemistry and redox status of broilers; Animals, 10; 2020.
[8] Jonathan O., Mnisi C.M., Kumanda C., Mlambo V.; Effect of dietary red grape pomace on growth performance, hematology, biochemistry and meat quality parameters in Hy-line Silver Brown cockerels; PLoS One, 4; 2021.
[9] Bennato F., Di Luca A., Martino C., Ianni A., Marone E., Grotta L., Ramazzotti S., Cichelli A., Martino G.; Influence of grape pomace intake on nutritional value, lipid oxidation and volatile profile of poultry meat; Foods, 17; 2020.

[10] Viveros A., Chamorro S., Pizarro M., Arija I., Centeno C., Brenes A.; Effects of dietary polyphenol-rich grape products on intestinal microflora and gut morphology in broiler chicks; Poultry Science, 90; 2011.

[11] Campione A., Natalello A., Valenti B., Luciano G., Rufino-Moya P.J., Avondo M., Morbidini L., Pomente C., Krol B., Wilk M., Migdal P., Pauselli M.; Effect of feeding hazelnut skin on animal performance, milk quality and rumen fatty acids in lactating ewes; Animals, 10; 2020

[12] Squara S., Stilo F., Cialiè Rosso M., Liberto E., Spigolon N., Genova G., Castello G., Bicchi C., Cordero C.; Corylus avellana L. aroma blueprint: potent odorants signatures in the volatilome of high quality hazelnuts; Frontiers in Plant Science, 13; 2022.

Research activities

Publication list:

- Bongiorno V., Gariglio M., Zambotto V., Cappone E.E., Biasato I., Renna M., Forte C., Coudron C., Bergagna S., Gai F., Schiavone A.; Black soldier fly larvae used for environmental enrichment purposes: can they affect the growth, slaughter performance, and blood chemistry of medium-growing chickens?; Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 9; 2022.



- Bongiorno V., Gariglio M., Zambotto V., Cappone E.E., Biasato I., Bellezza Oddon S., Gaddés M., Soglia D., Forte C., Renna M., Gasco L., Gai F., Schiavone A. (2022). Blood chemistry of medium-growing male and female chickens fed Black Soldier Fly live larvae; In proceeding of the 7th Mediterranean Poultry Summit, Cordoba (Spain); 8-10/06/2022.

- Bongiorno V., Gariglio M., Zambotto V., Cappone E.E., Biasato I., Bellezza Oddon S., Soglia D., Forte C., Renna M., Gasco L., Gai F., Schiavone A. (2022). Slaughter performance of medium-growing chicken fed Black Soldier Fly live larvae; In proceeding of the 26th World’s Poultry Congress, Paris (France); 7-11/08/2022.

- Bongiorno V., Gariglio M., Zambotto V., Cappone E.E., Biasato I., Bellezza Oddon S., Soglia D., C Forte C., Renna M., Gasco L., Gai F., Schiavone A. (2022); Black Soldier Fly live larvae as environmental enrichment in medium-growing chicken diet; In proceeding of the 26th World’s Poultry Congress, Paris (France); 7-11/08/2022.


Presentation of papers, posters, given speeches at conferences and seminars

- 24/03/2022: Cappone E.E. (2022). Presentation of the Master’s Degree in Animal Science to the new incoming students during the annual SAMEV Career Day (University of Turin, Italy).

- 16/11/2022: Cappone E.E. (2022). Presentation of the first oviposition data of the Bianca di Saluzzo e Bionda Piemontese laying hens during the CoVaRAP seminar (Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Turin, Italy).

-15/12/2022: Cappone E.E. (2022). Presentation during the annual Game Of Research (Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Turin) entitled "Progetto CoVaRAP: conservazione e valorizzazione della Bionda Piemontese e Bianca di Saluzzo".


Other training:

- 07/10/2021: Webinar “L’agronomo nelle aziende zootecniche per il benessere animale”, CONAF, Italy.

- 16/11/2022: Seminar – “EIT Food FEEL LOCAL ITALY”, Workshop per la filiera agro- alimentare"




Last update: 30/05/2023 12:58

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