CADERNO DE CIÊNCIAS AGRÁRIAS
Agrarian Sciences Journal
Vegetable pigments in sorghum-based diets for laying hens
Donaldo Antônio Nunes Junior
1
; Heder José D’Avila Lima
2
; Jean Kaique Valentim
3
*; Laura Aline Zanelatto
de Souza
4
; Nayara Emanoelle Matos e Silva
5
; Ana Carolina da Silva Martins
6
, Tatiana Marques Bittencourt
7
,
Janaína Palermo Mendes
8
DOI: https://doi.org/10.35699/2447-6218.2020.24309
Abstract
The main objective of this research is to evaluate the inclusion of different natural pigment solutions in diets formula-
ted with maize and sorghum solutions on the growth performance and egg quality of commercial laying hens created
in hot climates. Throughout the conduction of this experiment, were used 252 laying hens of the Hisex Brow, in a
completely randomized design, with six treatments, seven repetitions, and six birds per plot. The experimental diets
were assigned with different energy sources and adding pigmentation solutions, diet 1 (corn), diet 2 (corn + annatto),
diet 3 (corn + carrot), diet 4 (sorghum), diet 5 (sorghum + annatto), diet 6 (sorghum + Carrot). Afterward, being
evaluated the performance and quality of eggs. It was observed significant difference with reference t egg production,
egg weight (g), gem weight (g), the weight of shell (g), albumin in weight (g), and gem coloration (tons) among the
treatments. There was no difference in the parameters of performance and quality of eggs evaluated, only the variable
yolk color had a significant effect between treatments. Replacing the energy source of the corn diet with sorghum in
the diet of laying hens at peak production provides similar performance and egg quality, which can be a substitute
for quality and efficiency. The use of annatto and carrots as a natural pigmentation promotes greater pigmentation
of the egg yolks of laying Hisex Brown eggs and does not impair the performance of the birds.
Keywords: Annatto. Carrot. Egg Yolk. Plant extracts. Poultry Science.
Pigmentantes vegetais em dietas à base de sorgo para galinhas poedeiras
Resumo
O principal objetivo desta pesquisa foi avaliar a inclusão de diferentes fontes pigmentantes naturais em dietas formu-
ladas a base de milho e sorgo sobre o desempenho produtivo e a qualidade dos ovos de galinhas poedeiras comerciais
criadas em clima quente. Ao longo da condução deste experimento, foram utilizadas 252 poedeiras da linhagem
Hisex Brow, distribuídas em um delineamento inteiramente casualizado, com seis tratamentos, sete repetições e seis
1
Universidade Federal do Mato Grosso. Cuiabá, MT. Brasil.
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0365-9287
2
Universidade Federal dos Vales do Jequitinhonha e Mucuri. Diamantina, MG. Brasil.
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8360-8227
3
Universidade Federal da Grande Dourados. Dourados, MS. Brasil.
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8547-4149
4
Universidade Federal do Mato Grosso. Cuiabá, MT. Brasil.
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7663-5331
5
Universidade Federal do Mato Grosso. Cuiabá, MT. Brasil.
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5957-9032
6Universidade Federal do Mato Grosso. Cuiabá, MT. Brasil.
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3177-3642
7
Universidade Federal do Mato Grosso. Cuiabá, MT. Brasil.
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2941-2039
8Universidade Federal da Grande Dourados. Dourados, MS. Brasil.
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7860-0933
*Autor para correspondência: kaique.tim@hotmail.com
Recebido para publicação em 26 de Julho de 2020. Aceito para publicação 25 de Outubro de 2020.
e-ISSN: 2447-6218 / ISSN: 2447-6218 / © 2009, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Todos os direitos reservados.
Nunes Junior, D. A. et al.
2
Cad. Ciênc. Agrá., v. 12, p. 01–06, https://doi.org/10.35699/2447-6218.2020.24309
aves por parcela. Foram utilizadas diferentes fontes energéticas com adição de dois pigmentantes naturais, dieta 1
(milho), dieta 2 (milho + urucum), dieta 3 (milho + cenoura), dieta 4 (sorgo), dieta 5 (sorgo + urucum), dieta 6
(Sorgo + Cenoura). Posteriormente, foram avaliados o desempenho e a qualidade dos ovos. Foi observada diferença
significativa com relação à produção de ovos de referência, peso do ovo (g), peso da gema (g), peso da casca (g),
peso da albumina (g) e coloração da gema entre os tratamentos. Não houve diferença nos parâmetros de desempe-
nho e qualidade dos ovos avaliados, apenas a variável cor da gema teve efeito significativo entre os tratamentos. A
substituição da fonte de energia da dieta de milho por sorgo na dieta de poedeiras em pico de produção proporciona
desempenho e qualidade do ovo semelhantes, o que pode ser um substituto para qualidade e eficiência. O uso de
urucum e cenoura como pigmentação natural promove maior pigmentação das gemas de ovos de postura dos ovos
Hisex Brown e não prejudica o desempenho das aves.
Palavras-chave: Cenoura. Ciência Avícola. Extratos de plantas. Urucum. Gema de ovo.
Introduction
In the current scenario poultry farming stands
out as one of the largest markets to be explored in Brazil,
both for its export value and domestic consumption. To
leverage this growth, measures that encourage consumers
to consume eggs are essential. In poultry food, the use of
additives and by-products is responsible for significant
gains in productivity in the sector (Araújo et al., 2007).
The supplementation of pigments in diets for
commercial laying hens formulated with sorghum is
done seeking to improve the pigmentation of egg yolk,
being an important tool to adjust this coloration to be
similar and / or superior when using corn-based diets
(Mendonça et al., 2018).
To favor this niche market, the poultry industry
uses products to increase the coloring of the yolks of these
eggs, through the addition of carotenoid compounds that
are abundantly found in nature, such as those present in
the corn itself, main input in poultry rations (Bazaka et
al., 2016). The color of the egg yolk is given through the
deposition of xanthophylls, carotenoid pigments derived
from the feed of the birds (Marounek et al., 2018). There
are several foods with high concentrations of carotenoids,
such as corn and millet, among others, but there are also
foods with low concentrations of carotenoids, such as
sorghum (Fayeye et al., 2019).
According to Valentim et al. (2019) the subs-
titution of synthetic pigments by natural pigments can
be a viable alternative in laying poultry, as it does not
affect the productive performance of laying hens. Due to
health risks and their cost, artificial pigments are being
less used, favoring the use of natural substances (Pereira
et al., 2016).
Thus, the objective of this research is to analyze
the inclusion of different natural pigments in corn-based
diets and sorgo on zootechnical performance and the
quality of commercial laying hen eggs during peak laying.
Material and methods
The experiment was carried out in the Poultry
Sector of the Experimental Farm of the Federal Univer-
sity of Mato Grosso, located in the municipality of Santo
Antônio de Leverger – MT. The experimental shed used
was masonry, with a right foot height of 3.5m, ceramic
tile roof, side, and central concreted flooring, sidewalls
with external protection of steel screen, and equipped
with fans and lamps.
A totalizes of the 252 laying hens of the lineage
Hisex Brown lineage was used, 25 weeks old, the initial
weight of 1.566 ± 0.180 (Kg), and production rate of 88
± 5%. The laying hens were distributed in an experimental
design entirely randomized, consisting of six diets and
seven replicates, with six laying hens each. The lighting
program adopted was 16 hours of daylight.
Galvanized wire cages with dimensions of 100cm
x 40cm were used, containing 3 breakdowns of 33.3cm x
40cm, housing two laying hens per distribution, providing
an area of 800cm²/bird, arranged in stairs, equipped with
a gutter feeder and nipple drinker, in the disposal of a
drinking fountain for two laying hens.
The mean air temperature in the experimental
period was 32.4 ± 2.88°c and the relative humidity was
61 ± 18.9%. The nutritional requirements used for the
formulation of poultry feed and the chemical composi-
tion and nutritional values of the ingredients used for
the formulation of the rations were those described by
Rostagno et al. (2017). The centesimal composition of
foods used as a source of natural pigments and energy
in diets for laying hens are presented in Table 1.
Five isocaloric and isonitrogenous experimental
diets were formulated based on corn, sorgo, and soybean
meal with inclusion levels of equal pigments, but from
different sources (annatto and carrot flour), 0.5% level
of inclusion in the diet according to the table 2.
Vegetable pigments in sorghum-based diets for laying hens
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Table 1 – Centesimal composition of food
Food
Moisture
(%)
Metabolizable
Energy (Kcal)
Crude Pro-
tein(g)
Lipids
(g)
Carbohydrates
(g)
Raw Fi-
ber (g)
Ashes
(g)
Annatto 5.32 3484 10.87 17.09 60.40 3.57 2.75
Carrot 90.01 3400 1.30 0.20 7.75 3.22 0.90
Corn 11.57 3925 7.20 1.95 78.98 4.73 0.61
Sorghum 10.21 3928 11.71 3.47 61.2 11.4 1.53
Source-Table of Brazilian food composition (2011).
Table 2 – Percentage and calculated composition of experimental diets based on natural matter.
Ingredients (%) Corn
Corn
+
Annatto
Corn
+
Carrot
Sorghum
Sorghum
+
Annatto
Sorghum
+
Carrot
Ground corn % 62.0 61.3 61.25 - - -
Sorghum % - - - 61.6 61.1 60.9
Starch % 0.5 0.70 0.75 1.9 1.9 2.0
Soybean Meal % 25.0 25.0 25.0 24.0 24.0 24.10
Core % 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5
Dicalcium phosphate % 7.6 7.6 7.6 7.6 7.6 7.6
Limestone % 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1
Common salt % 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5
Soybean oil % 1.8 1.8 1.8 1.8 1.8 1.8
Carrot flour % - - 0.5 - - 0.5
Annatto % 0.0 0.5 - - 0.5 -
Calculated Nutritional Composition
Metabolizable energy (Kcal/Kg) 2900 2900 2900 2900 2900 2900
Crude protein % 16.02 16.02 16.02 16.02 16.02 16.02
Calcium % 3.90 3.90 3.90 3.90 3.90 3.90
Match available % 0.291 0.291 0.291 0.291 0.291 0.291
Sodium % 0.218 0.218 0.218 0.218 0.218 0.218
Digestible Lysine % 0.777 0.777 0.777 0.777 0.777 0.777
Digestible Methionine % 0.389 0.389 0.389 0.389 0.389 0.389
Methionine Cystine % 0.707 0.707 0.707 0.707 0.707 0.707
Digestible Threoin % 0.591 0.591 0.591 0.591 0.591 0.591
Tryptophan % 0.179 0.179 0.179 0.179 0.179 0.179
Guarantee levels per kg of core, Calcium (max) 210g, Calcium (min) 170g, Phosphorus (min) 45g, Methionine (min) 10g. Vitamin A (min) 140,000
U.I.,Vitamin D3 (min) 35,000 U.I.,Vitamin E (min) 140 U.I., Thiamine (B1) (min) 10 mg, Riboflavin (B2) (min) 75 mg, Pyridoxine (B6) (min) 20
mg, Vitamin B12 (min) 120 mcg, Vitamin K3 (mini) 30 mg, Folic Acid (min) 6 Mg , Niacin (mini) 300 mg, Calcium Pantothenate (min) 120 mg,
Choline (min) 5000 mg, Sodium (min) 30g, Manganese (min) 1600 mg, Zinc (min) 1300 mg, Copper (min) 160 mg, Iron (min) 630 mg, Iodo (min)
20 mg, Selenium (min) 6 mg, Phytase (min) 10,000 FTU and Zinc Bacitracin 500 Mg.
The experiment was carried out in 3 periods of 21
days, totaling 63 days, the diet consumption was calcula-
ted by the difference between the quantity provided and
the leftovers, correcting possible mortality in the plots.
Nunes Junior, D. A. et al.
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The eggs were collected daily in the afternoon and the
average egg production was obtained by computing the
number of eggs produced, including broken, cracked,
and abnormal ones and was expressed as a percentage,
on the average laying hens of the period (egg/bird/day).
All healthy eggs produced during the three ex-
perimental days, in each repetition were weighed in the
precision scale of 0.01g and the total weight obtained
was divided by the number of eggs used in the weighing,
obtaining the average weight of the eggs.
To evaluate the egg components, the weights
of the yolk, shell, and albumen were analyzed about
egg weight and yolk staining. For this, in each period of
analysis, 3 eggs of each experimental unit were randomly
used. The eggs were weighed individually in scale swings
with an accuracy of 0.01g. The yolk of each egg was
weighed and recorded using the digital photography me-
thod and colorimetric range DSM 14 tones, which varies
between opaque yellow and intense orange, the higher
the value obtained in the fan, the higher the degree of
yolk pigmentation. Their respective shells were washed
and dried into the air for two days to obtain the weight
of the bark.
The weight of the album was obtained by subtrac-
ting from the weight of the egg, the weight of the yolk,
and that of the shell. Food conversions were evaluated
by dozen eggs, expressed by the total feed intake in kilo-
grams divided by the dozens of eggs produced (Kg/DZ).
All laying hens were weighed at the beginning and end
of the experiment to determine body weight variation.
The specific severity was determined by the saline fluc-
tuation method, according to the methodology described
by Hamilton (1982).
The specific severity of all healthy eggs collected
was evaluated. The eggs were immersed in NaCl solution
with density ranging from 1.070 to 1.1000g/cm³, with
intervals of 0.005g/cm³ between them. The density of
the solutions was measured with the aid of an INCOTER-
M-OM-5565 model densimeter.
The data obtained were analyzed using the Sta-
tistical Analysis System (SAS, 2012) statistical package,
and the normality of the residues was verified using the
Shapiro-Wilk test and the variances compared by the
Levenes Test. Subsequently, the data were submitted to
variance analysis by the Mixed procedure (PROC MIXED)
using the Tukey test at the level of 5% significance.
Results and Discussion
No significant effect (p<0.05) was observed on
feed intake, egg production, and feed conversion by mass
and by dozen of laying hens as a function of diets (Table
3).
Table 3 – Performance of laying hens fed different natural pigments in two energy sources
Parameters Corn
Corn
+
Annatto
Corn
+
Carrot
Sorghum
Sorghum
+
Annatto
Sorghum
+
Carrot
CV (%) P-value
Feed consumption
(g/bird/day)
85.08 86.15 84.82 82.25 83.28 82.79 7.50 0.087
Egg production (%) 88.87 89.78 90.14 89.78 90.73 88.25 9.25 0.0589
Feed conversion by
mass
2.17 2.21 2.28 2.32 2.22 2.17 7.89 0.0996
Feed conversion per
dozen
1.89 1.98 1.95 2.01 1.97 2.02 8.21 0.145
Viability of laying
hens (%)
98 100 100 99 100 99 0 0.189
Media followed by the same letter in the line do not differ from each other at the level of 5% significance by the Tukey test (p<0.05). CV: Coefficient
of Variation.
As reported by Botelho et al., (2017) it is possible
to completely replace corn with low tannin sorghum in
the diet of commercial laying hens without interfering in
the productive characteristics of zootechnical performan-
ce. The use of alternative ingredients to corn in feed, in
addition to a need to reduce costs in egg production, is
an opportunity to find other energy sources that replace
corn, without harming animal performance (Bittencourt
et al., 2019).
This fact can be explained by the nutritional
composition of the ingredients tested, and due to the
diets used to be isonutritive, with this, the laying hens
presented similar zootechnical performance. Molino et al.
(2012) working with annatto in diets based on sorgo and
soybean meal, also found no effects on the consumption
of laying hens from the Hisex Brown lineage. On the
other hand, Queiroz et al. (2010) observed a difference
in feed intake when the amount of pigmented inclusion
exceeded 6% in the sorgo-based diet.
Vegetable pigments in sorghum-based diets for laying hens
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Cad. Ciênc. Agrá., v. 12, p. 01–06, https://doi.org/10.35699/2447-6218.2020.24309
Valentim et al. (2019) and Boka et al. (2014)
found that plant extracts have a positive effect because
of its antioxidant activity which improves nutrient di-
gestibility and stimulates enzyme secretion, helping to
preserve intestine microbiota, impacting on better feed
conversion, production and egg’s internal quality.
Analyzing the data for egg production, no signi-
ficant difference was observed in diets, and productivity
values indicated a higher production with diets containing
sorgo in place of corn. Moreno et al. (2007), evaluating
the partial and total replacement of corn by sorgo in
laying hen diets, observed that the substitution caused
a decrease in production, which differs from the result
found in the present study.
The color of the egg yolk showed differences
between treatments (p <0.05), the other variables did
not show differences between the means, as shown in
table 4.
Table 4 – Quality of laying bird eggs fed different natural pigments in two energy sources
Parameters Corn
Corn
+
Annatto
Corn
+
Carrot
Sorghum
+
Annatto
Sor-
ghum
Sorghum
+
Carrot
CV
(%)
P-value
Egg weight (g) 50.29 51.48 51.25 51.55 50.59 50.78 8.25 0.256
Specific gravity (g/cm³) 1.092 1.090 1.091 1.091 1.092 1.090 2.48 0.478
Yolk weight (g) 12.21 12.87 12.25 12.80 12.12 12.57 7.47 0.087
Hull weight (g) 4.98 4.76 5.01 4.99 4.55 4.89 10.1 0.078
Weight of albumen (g) 33.54 32.11 33.52 31.14 30.45 32.80 2.54 0.066
Yolk pigmentation 5.29
b
6.78
a
6.11
a
3.08
c
1.45 3.01
c
8.78 0.014
Media followed by the same letter in the line do not differ from each other at the level of 5% significance by the Tukey test (p<0.05). CV: Coefficient
of Variation.
There was no difference in the parameters of per-
formance and quality of eggs evaluated, only the variable
yolk color had a significant effect between treatments.
Therefore, the replacement of corn with low
tannin sorghum in the diet of laying hens in peak produc-
tion does not affect the performance and quality of eggs,
which may be a substitute source in poultry production.
However, sorghum without pigmentation supplementa-
tion provides a smaller yolk color. Thus, the addition of
natural pigment sources is indicated in the diet, due to
consumer preference for more vibrant colored eggs.
Adding plant extracts pigments in quails’ feed
did not change egg quality but improves yolk color due
to the higher deposition of carotenoid pigments (Va-
lentim et al., 2020). What may be correlated with egg
weight, which was also higher in these same treatments.
Moreno et al. (2007), found a significant difference for
yolk weight when the replacement of the corn and sorgo
energy source was 100%.
When the yolk staining was evaluated, a sig-
nificant difference was observed, and diet 2 (Corn +
Annatto) provided pigmentation greater than the others,
according to observation through the colorimetric ran-
ge. The largest discrepancy was verified between diets
1 (corn), 2 (Corn + Annatto), 3 (Corn + Carrot) when
compared with diets 4 (Sorgo), 5 (Sorgo + Annatto),
and 6 (Sorgo + Carrot), due to total corn replacement by
sorgo. These results corroborate Braz et al. (2007), who
found a significant difference when corn was completely
replaced by sorgo and report that to obtain similarity in
staining it was necessary to include approximately 3.77%
of annatto in a diet containing sorgo as the main source
of energy. Sorghum in laying diets can have advantages,
as it is sold at a price of around 80% of the price of corn,
despite the nutritional differences between them (Fassani
et al., 2019).
Englmaierová et al. (2014) mentioned that syn-
thetic pigments are used because of its coloring effect of
yolk but the use should be limited. Natural alternatives
give the same coloring result when choosing eggs, without
hurting egg quality and human health.
Moraleco et al. (2019) Regarding egg and shell
weight as well as shell percentage there were no signi-
ficant effects (p > 0.05), these results are in agreement
with those reported by Galobart et al. (2004), which
suggested that natural extracts do not influence animal
performance and the quality of the eggs. Moura et al.
(2011) demonstrated the ability of pigmentation of these
additives while working with the inclusion of natural
pigments in the sorghum-based diet fed to Japanese
quail and observed incremental potentializing of the
color evaluated using a colorimetric score.
The addition of pigmented plant extracts was not
able to change the internal and external quality of the
eggs, however there was an improvement in the yolk color
due to the higher deposition of pigmenting carotenoids.
Nunes Junior, D. A. et al.
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Conclusion
Replacing the energy source of the corn diet with
sorghum in the diet of laying hens at peak production
provides similar performance and egg quality, which
can be a substitute for quality and efficiency. The use of
annatto and carrots as a natural pigmentation promotes
greater pigmentation of the egg yolks of laying Hisex
Brown eggs and does not impair the performance of the
birds.
Ethics Committee approval
The project was submitted, analyzed, and appro-
ved by the ethics committee in the use of animals (CEUA),
filed under number 23108.092960/ 2015-80.
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