This study was conducted to investigate the effects of the mulberry [Morus alba var. multicaulis (Perrott.) Loud.] leaf powder (MLP) supplementation in dietary concentrates on growth performance, blood metabolites, meat quality, and antioxidant enzyme (AOE) gene expression in fattening Hu lambs. Forty approximately 3-mo-old Hu lambs (16.5 ± 0.6 kg) were randomly allocated to five groups and fed with concentrates containing 0%, 15%, 30%, 45%, or 60% MLP (control, T15, T30, T45, and T60, respectively). The results showed that 15%–30% MLP supplementation maintained growth and carcass performance, and the weight of total stomach, especially of rumen in T15 and T30, were higher than those of the control. Dietary MLP supplementation decreased serum aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, lactate dehydrogenase, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, but increased the high-density lipoprotein levels. Moreover, MLP supplementation improved the longissimus lumborum muscle color (redness), tenderness, and water-holding capacity. It was further observed that 15% MLP supplementation enhanced all AOE mRNA levels apart from that of EPHX1. In summary, dietary MLP supplementation could partially improve the blood metabolites, meat quality, and AOE mRNA levels in the liver of fattening Hu lamb, and the level of 15% supplementation was the most promising.
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