Enrichment of Eggs With Lycopene

Eggs are a nutrient rich food that provides a broad spectrum of essential nutrients. This should be no surprise as eggs contain all the nutrients to grow a young chick. Although eggs are generally regarded as a healthy food, the quality of the egg depends greatly on the food that is provided to the bird. In the case of chickens for example, battery caged chicken produce eggs that are of lower quality compared with free range chickens. This relates to the fact that generally, being free range allows the chickens to consume a wider variety of foods, and this is reflected in a better nutritional profile in the eggs. One nutrient in eggs that is able to be modified by the diet of the bird directly is the carotenoid group of nutrients. In fact, the deep yellow or orange colour of egg yolks is a direct result of the presence of carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin. It has also been shown that quail eggs can be enriched with the carotenoid lycopene if the birds are fed a lycopene rich diet. Eggs are therefore a very useful functional food.

eggs lycopene carotenoids

Feeding birds carotenoids increases the carotenoid content of their eggs. Feeding other animals carotenoids also increases the carotenoid content of their tissues. This is also true for humans.

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Sahin, N., Akdemir, F., Orhan, C., Kucuk, O., Hayirli, A. and Sahin, K. 2008. Lycopene-enriched quail egg as functional food for humans. Food Research International. 41(3): 295-300

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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