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Poult Sci. 2012 Nov;91(11):2970-6. doi: 10.3382/ps.2012-02246.

Does preincubational in ovo injection of buffers or antioxidants improve the quality and hatchability in long-term stored eggs?

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Faculty of Animal Science, Gorgan University of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran.


A hypothesis was tested that providing buffer solutions or antioxidants during egg storage may help embryos in combating the harmful effect of longer holding periods. Hatching eggs were obtained from a breeder flock (35 wk) and stored for 13 d before setting. In experiment 1, the eggs were injected (d 4) with bicarbonate buffer solution (BBS) or PBS. For experiment 2, l-carnitine (LC), vitamin E (VE), and vitamin C (VC) were injected (d 7) at 3 different doses. The egg internal quality characteristics were evaluated at 2-d intervals after injection and the remaining eggs were incubated for 21 d under standard conditions. At 21 d, hatchability was recorded and unhatched eggs were broken open to assess the fertility and stage of embryonic mortality. No differences were noted in albumen pH due to using buffer solutions or antioxidants except for a decreased pH at 2 d postinjection of the high dose of VC (75 mg). In ovo injection of BBS increased the albumen index and Haugh unit at d 6 postinjection; however, the response to PBS was not different from that in the control group. In ovo injection of antioxidants did not influence the albumen index, Haugh unit, and yolk index; however, the yolk percentage was partly affected. Irrespective of the dosage, hatchability was greatly decreased following in ovo injection of buffers or antioxidants (as low as 4.3 vs. 87.5% in control), with the highest mortality percentage recorded at early embryonic stages (d 0 to 6). Data suggested that, despite improvement in certain egg internal qualities, preincubational in ovo injection of BBS, PBS, LC, VE, or VC was associated with a profoundly decreased hatchability for which the underlying mechanism(s) remain(s) to be clarified.

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