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Producing Carotenoids and Selenium Enriched Eggs Using Herbal Plants for Nutritional Prevention of Chronic Diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa
Recently, a high degree of renewed interest is placed on the nutritional properties of herbal plants, which contain compounds with antioxidant activities such as Vitamin C, Carotenoids, organic selenium (Se) and flavonoids. There are claims in the literature that these herbs have nutritional, therapeutic and prophylactic properties due to their high level of antioxidants, that are natural, highly bio-available and inexpensive compared to conventionally synthetic antioxidants.
Results of recent research at our laboratory at College of Agricultural Studies, Sudan University of Science & technology (Submitted for publication), demonstrated that using a local herb as feed additive in the diet of Single-comb White Leghorn (SCWL), show a numerically (not significant) increase in hen-day egg production and egg weight , but a significantly increase the egg quality parameters as measured by shell thickness, albumen quality of eggs storage for up to two weeks and yolk color as well as full bright feather coverage and significant improvement in primary and secondary immune response of the hens.
This Improvement in quality parameters will have the following advantages for farmers:
Improvement in eggshell strength will have a significant impact in the tropical countries since the high ambient temperature in this region is known increase eggshell breakage.
Recently layers laying cycle around the world is extended to well over 100 weeks. Therefore, eggshell breakage at old age can no longer be a limiting factor for this extension.
Color is one of the most important factors that affect consumer choices through sensory evaluation of food, a bright yolk color is considered as an indicator of freshness, good health, and performance of the flock. This bright yolk color is a value-added; especially in countries where poultry feed depends on sorghum as the main source of energy.
Excessive feather loss adversely affects feed conversion, as birds must allocate some of the available feed energy to compensate for heat loss. In addition, full and bright plumage cover will improve the welfare image of laying hens.
The herb immune-boosting agent can be used as a nutritional intervention tool to reduce antibiotic usage. Thus, meeting consumer demand for high quality, antibiotic-free poultry products.
The benefits of increasing the Carotenoids and Se content of the hen’s egg on human health
Particular interest in Se as antioxidants has been generated as a result of a number of studies showing that inadequate Se consumption is associated with poor health, genetic defects, Goiter and defense against (coronary heart disease and cancer) as well as various viral and bacterial diseases. The role of Se in human health and diseases has been discussed in detail in several recent reviews, with the main conclusion being that Se deficiency is recognized as a global problem. Therefore, finding a solution to this problem is now on the agenda of many government health bodies.
Carotenoids (lutein and Zeaxanthin) have been included recently into the antioxidants family. Evidence in several species suggests direct effects of lutein on the immune response.
Local herb natural and potent antioxidants (lutein and organic Se) would allow for the inclusion of omega-3 fatty acids into eggs and poultry meat since these natural antioxidants will protect omega -3 fatty acids from oxidation.
As a final conclusion, the information obtained from this study indicate that a designer egg-enriched in carotenoids and Se can be not only a good nutritional product but also a good vector for the delivery of two essential nutrients vital for human health. Additionally, we think that production of such enriched eggs will be a bold idea that could transform the way chronic diseases are treated in the developing world and may benefit the health of developed world citizens as well.