The objective of this study was to investigate the of dietary pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata) seed meal (PSM) on laying performance, quality, fatty acids, cholesterol, antioxidant compounds and shelf life of eggs.
Eighty Tetra SL laying hens, 50-week-old, were randomly divided into two equal groups, having 10 replicates with 4 birds in each. The control (CON) treatment was fed with basal diet, while experimental treatment was fed a diet with 9% pumpkin seed meal (PSM), for a 6 week period.
Dietary PSM significantly decreased average daily feed intake (p<0.05), with no significant effect on other performance parameters. The PSM, enriched the eggs with polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially α linolenic acid (0.33 vs. 0.21g/100g) and linoleic acid (20.65 vs. 18.37 g/100g), whereas it reduced the amount of arachidonic acid with 3.91% and n-6/n-3 ratio in PSM eggs compared with CON. The inclusion of 9% PSM significantly (p<0.05) diminished the cholesterol concentration in yolk with 11.31% and in egg with 10.38%, in respect to the CON samples. The significantly (p<0.05) higher concentration of polyphenols and antioxidant compounds, determined in PSM eggs, proved to be effective on shelf life of eggs preserved at refrigerator (5°C) and room temperature (21°C) for 28 days, by delaying the lipid oxidation and protein denaturation. This effect was reflected in significantly (p<0.05) higher Haugh Unit in eggs stored 28 days at 21°C and lower albumen pH values for the overall storage time, both at 5°C and 21°C, proving the antioxidant effect of pumpkin.
Dietary PSM supplementation was significantly effective on average daily feed intake and egg quality by increasing some fatty acids while lowering the cholesterol concentration. Also, PSM proved to be effective improving shelf life of eggs for 28 days storage time.