The total demand for animal products in developing countries is expected to more than double by 2030. Producers are really concerned to avoid pale yolks as most egg marketing authorities require deep-yellow to orange-yellow yolk colors. To this end, egg producers must include commercial supplements based on carotenes in animal feed which increases production costs and complicates the manufacturing process. Although fruits and vegetables are particularly good sources of certain carotenoids, cereal grains generally lack these compounds, leading to certain deficiencies in countries where cereals are either the staple diet or the basis of feed for animal farming.
The technology developed relates to a number of different hybrid varieties of maize producing high amounts of antioxidants. In relation to this, a new feeding method has been developed to produce high quality eggs with no need to supplement feed with commercial pigments. In particular, hens lay eggs with an intense golden yolk (range 10 to 12 on the DSM Yolk Color Fan) when fed with the new maize varieties. Consumed by the laying hens, carotenoids are readily transferred to the blood and then deposited in the yolk to provide this strong pigmentation. Egg quality parameters - egg weight, fracture strength, albumen height, haugh units or shell thickness - are not altered when compared to eggs laid by hens feed with commercial maize. Eggs also accumulate high-content of carotenoids and ketocarotenoids (astaxanthine) and retain high quality nutritional parameters. These eggs may have a better acceptance by consumers due to both properties (color and nutritional aspects).
The university is interested in a license agreement with partners that can industrialize and bring to the market this technology. The partners sought are expected to carry out the regulatory development of the technology required for the commercialization.
They are also interested in a technical cooperation agreement when further development to adapt to specific client needs may be required.