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Yolk sac nutrient composition and fat uptake in late-term embryos in eggs from young and old broiler breeder hens

Yadgary, L., Cahaner, A., Kedar, O., Uni, Z.
Poultry science 2010 v.89 no.11 pp. 2441-2452
yolk sac, egg yolk composition, young animals, elderly, dietary fat, broiler breeders, nutrient uptake, lipid composition, dams (mothers), egg yolk, embryogenesis
In the present study, we examined the composition, amount, and uptake of yolk nutrients [fat, protein, water, and carbohydrates (COH)] during incubation of eggs from 30- and 50-wk-old broiler breeder hens. Eggs were sampled at embryonic d 0 (fresh eggs), 13, 15, 17, 19, and 21 (hatch). Egg, embryo, yolk content, and yolk sac membrane were weighed, and the yolk sac (YS; i.e., yolk content + yolk sac membrane) composition was analyzed. From 30 to 50 wk of age, the albumen weight increased by 13.3%, whereas the yolk increased by more than 40%. The proportion of fat in the fresh yolk of the 30-wk-old group was 23.8% compared with 27.4% in the 50-wk-old group, whereas the proportion of protein was 17.9% compared with 15.6%, respectively. During incubation, results indicated that water and protein infiltrated from other egg compartments to the YS. Accordingly, the calculated change in the content of water and protein between fresh yolk and sampled YS does not represent the true uptake of these components from the YS to the embryo, and only fat uptake from the YS can be accurately estimated. By embryonic d 15, fat uptake relative to embryo weight was lower in the 30-wk-old group than in the 50-wk-old group. However, by embryonic d 21, embryos of both groups reached similar relative fat uptake, suggesting that to hatch, embryos must attain a certain amount of fat as a source of energy for the hatching process. The amount of COH in the YS increased similarly during incubation in eggs from hens of both ages, reaching a peak at embryonic d 19, suggesting COH synthesis in the YS. At hatch, the amount of protein, water, and COH in the residual YS, relative to the weight of the yolk-free chick, was similar in eggs from young and old hens. However, chicks from the younger hens had less fat in the YS for their immediate posthatch nutrition compared with those from the older hens.