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Biofortification of Chicken Eggs with Vitamin K—Nutritional and Quality Improvements

Cork Centre for Vitamin D and Nutrition Research, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University College Cork, Cork T12 Y337, Ireland
Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Veterinary Sciences Division, Stoney Road, Stormont Belfast BT4 3SD, Northern Ireland, UK
Devenish Nutrition Ltd., Belfast BT1 3BG, Northern Ireland, UK
Food Safety Department, Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ashtown, Dublin D15 DY 05, Ireland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Foods 2020, 9(11), 1619;
Received: 30 September 2020 / Revised: 1 November 2020 / Accepted: 2 November 2020 / Published: 6 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eggs and Eggproducts: Unravelling the Secrets)
National nutrition surveys have shown that over half of all adults in Ireland, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States of America (USA) have low vitamin K intakes. Thus, dietary strategies to improve vitamin K intakes are needed, and vitamin K biofortification of food may be one food-based approach. The primary aim of our study was to establish whether increasing the vitamin K3 content of hen feed can increase the vitamin K content of eggs, and the secondary aims were to examine the effects on hen performance parameters, as well as egg and eggshell quality parameters. A 12 week hen feeding trial was conducted in which Hyline chickens were randomized into four treatment groups (n = 32/group) and fed diets containing vitamin K3 (as menadione nicotinamide bisulfite) at 3 (control), 12.9, 23.7, and 45.7 mg/kg feed. Vitamin K1, menaquinone (MK)-4, MK-7, and MK-9 were measured in raw whole eggs via a liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry method. MK-4 was the most abundant form of vitamin K (91–98%) found in all eggs. Increasing the vitamin K3 content of hen feed over the control level significantly (p < 0.001) enhanced the MK-4 content of eggs (mean range: 46–51 µg/100 g, representing ~42–56% of US Adequate Intake values). Vitamin K biofortification also led to significant (p < 0.05) increases in the yellowness of egg yolk and in eggshell weight and thickness, but no other changes in egg quality or hen performance parameters. In conclusion, high-quality vitamin K-biofortified eggs can be produced with at least double the total vitamin K content compared to that in commercially available eggs. View Full-Text
Keywords: egg; hen; vitamin K; menaquinone 4; MK-4; biofortification egg; hen; vitamin K; menaquinone 4; MK-4; biofortification
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MDPI and ACS Style

O’Sullivan, S.M.; E. Ball, M.E.; McDonald, E.; Hull, G.L.J.; Danaher, M.; Cashman, K.D. Biofortification of Chicken Eggs with Vitamin K—Nutritional and Quality Improvements. Foods 2020, 9, 1619.

AMA Style

O’Sullivan SM, E. Ball ME, McDonald E, Hull GLJ, Danaher M, Cashman KD. Biofortification of Chicken Eggs with Vitamin K—Nutritional and Quality Improvements. Foods. 2020; 9(11):1619.

Chicago/Turabian Style

O’Sullivan, Siobhan M., M. E. E. Ball, Emma McDonald, George L.J. Hull, Martin Danaher, and Kevin D. Cashman. 2020. "Biofortification of Chicken Eggs with Vitamin K—Nutritional and Quality Improvements" Foods 9, no. 11: 1619.

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