Document Detail

Stable isotopes as a tool to differentiate eggs laid by caged, barn, free range, and organic hens.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19358533     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope values of whole yolk, delipidized yolk, albumen, and egg membrane were analyzed from 18 different brands of chicken eggs laid under caged, barn, free range, and organic farming regimes. In general, free range and organic egg components showed enrichment of (15)N values up to 4‰ relative to caged and barn laid eggs, suggesting a higher animal protein (trophic) contribution to the chicken's diet than pure plant-based foods and/or that the feed was organically manufactured. One sample of free range and two samples of organic eggs had δ(15)N values within the range of caged or barn laid eggs, suggesting either that these eggs were mislabeled (the hens were raised under "battery" or "barn" conditions, and not permitted to forage outside) or that there was insufficient animal protein gained by foraging to shift the δ(15)N values of their primary food source. δ(13)C values of potential food sources are discussed with respect to dietary intake and contribution to the isotopic signature of the eggs to determine mixing of C(3) and C(4) diets, although they did not elucidate laying regimen. The study finds that stable nitrogen isotope analysis of egg components is potentially a useful technique to unravel dietary differences between caged or barn hens and free range hens (both conventional and organic) and could be further developed as an authentication tool in the egg industry.
Karyne M Rogers
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2009-04-09
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of agricultural and food chemistry     Volume:  57     ISSN:  1520-5118     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Agric. Food Chem.     Publication Date:  2009 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-02-14     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0374755     Medline TA:  J Agric Food Chem     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  4236-42     Citation Subset:  IM    
National Isotope Centre, GNS Science, 30 Gracefield Road, Lower Hutt, New Zealand.
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