Impact of Different Layer Housing Systems on Eggshell Cuticle Quality and Salmonella Adherence in Table Eggs
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Eggshell cuticleFood safetyCaging systemAntimicrobialSalmonella
Kulshreshtha, G.; Benavides-Reyes, C.; RodriguezNavarro, A.B.; Diep, T.; Hincke, M.T. Impact of Different Layer Housing Systems on Eggshell Cuticle Quality and Salmonella Adherence in Table Eggs. Foods 2021, 10, 2559. https:// doi.org/10.3390/foods10112559
SponsorshipEgg Farmers of Canada (EFC) grant number: 551562, Livestock Research Innovation Corporation (LRIC) grant number 570593; PID2020- 116660GB-I00, RNM-938 group (Junta de Andalucía); UCE PP 2016.05 (Universidad de Granada)
The bacterial load on the eggshell surface is a key factor in predicting the bacterial penetration and contamination of the egg interior. The eggshell cuticle is the first line of defense against vertical penetration by microbial food-borne pathogens such as Salmonella Enteritidis. Egg producers are increasingly introducing alternative caging systems into their production chain as animal welfare concerns become of greater relevance to today’s consumer. Stress that is introduced by hen aggression and modified nesting behavior in furnished cages can alter the physiology of egg formation and affect the cuticle deposition/quality. The goal of this study was to determine the impact of caging systems (conventional, enriched, free-run, and free-range), on eggshell cuticle parameters and the eggshell bacterial load. The cuticle plug thickness and pore length were higher in the free-range eggs as compared to conventional eggs. The eggshells from alternative caging (enriched and free-range) had a higher total cuticle as compared to conventional cages. A reduction in bacterial cell counts was observed on eggshells that were obtained from free-range eggs as compared to the enriched systems. An inverse correlation between the contact angle and Salmonella adherence was observed. These results indicate that the housing systems of layer hens can modify the cuticle quality and thereby impact bacterial adherence and food safety.