2017 Volume 54 Issue 4 Pages 271-277
Lutein is an essential dietary carotenoid with health benefits and is inter alia responsible for the colouration of egg yolk. The relationship between lutein accumulation and egg yolk colouration was therefore studied in more detail. After feeding a low-luteine diet for 21 days, 14 birds (Lohmann brown hens aged 20 weeks) were fed a diet containing marigold (80 mg lutein/kg feed) and 14 other birds were fed a diet containing oleoresin (45 mg lutein/kg feed) for 21 days; for both groups of birds, this feeding period was followed by withdrawal for 21 days. The Roche Yolk Colour Fan (RYCF) score (0 to 15, where higher values denote greater colour intensity; R2＝0.87; P<0.01) and redness (R2＝0.89; P<0.01) increased with increasing lutein content of egg yolk. Total carotenoid content had a poor relationship with lightness (R2＝0.13; P>0.05) and yellowness (R2＝0.12; P>0.05) of the yolk. It may be concluded that increased lutein is potentially responsible for an increased RYCF score and redness (a*), but decreased yellowness (b*) and lightness (L*), of egg yolk.