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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Broccoli meal fed to laying hens increases nutrients in eggs and deepens the yolk color

  • Author(s): Pedroza, Gabriela;
  • Famula, Thomas R;
  • King, Annie J
  • et al.

The nutritious stems and leaves of broccoli often go to landfills as byproducts after harvesting and processing of the florets. The stems and leaves contain specific carotenoids that are noted to have anti-allergic, anti-cancer and anti-obesity bioactivity. Research has shown the stems and leaves could be made into a meal, small amounts of which could be added to poultry diets to increase the nutrients in eggs and also deepen the color of the yolks. We studied adding a relatively high percentage (15%) of broccoli stem and leaves meal to the corn-soy diets of White Leghorn inbred crosses. Compared to the control group of hens, fed the unenhanced corn-soy diet, feed consumption, body weight, feed conversion, egg production, egg weight, albumen height, Haugh units and eggshell thickness were statistically similar. No harmful effects of the glucosinolates in broccoli were observed. Yolk color scores were significantly higher with the addition of the meal. The results justify larger studies with various commercial lines of laying hens and various levels of meal added to the diets.

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