Chickens fed with biomass of the red microalga Porphyridium sp. have reduced blood cholesterol level and modified fatty acid composition in egg yolk
The biomass of the red alga Porphyridium sp.constitutes a unique combination of soluble sulfatedpolysaccharide that accounts for about 70% of thealgal dry weight, and various polyunsaturatedfatty acids (PUFA) such as arachidonic andeicosapentaenoic acid (AA, 20:4 ω6 and EPA,20:5 ω3). In view of earlier results in ourlaboratory showing a reduction in serum cholesteroland triglyceride levels in rodents fed with red algalbiomass, we set out to examine the influence of algalbiomass as a feed additive on the metabolism ofchickens, with an emphasis on blood and eggcholesterol levels. For that purpose, lyophilizedalgal biomass was fed to 12–13, 30-week-old, WhiteLeghorn chickens for 10 days at a proportion of 5% or10% of the standard chicken diet. Twelve chickensfed with unsupplemented diet served as the control. No differences in body weight, egg number, and eggweight were found between the algal-fed chickens (atboth concentrations) and the control. However,chickens fed with algal biomass consumed 10% lessfood for both groups, and their serum cholesterollevels were significantly lower (by 11% and 28% forthe groups fed with 5% and 10% supplement,respectively) as compared with the respective valuesof the control group. Egg yolk of chickens fed withalgae tended to have reduced cholesterol levels (by10%) and increased linoleic acid and arachidonic acidlevels (by 29% and 24%, respectively). In addition,the color of the egg yolk was darker as a result ofthe higher carotenoid levels (2.4 fold higher) forchickens that fed with 5% supplement. Theseresults encourage the development of an improvedchicken feed having dietary fibers and polyunsaturatedfatty acids.
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