Carotenoids and DDGS - NCSU Final USGC Report



Reduction of feed cost has been one of the major research initiatives as feed costs currently account for 60-70% of total poultry production costs. Therefore, research is essential and different alternatives must be considered with the intention of mitigating feed costs. In many countries of the world, pigmentation of the chicken carcass plays an important role in the customer perception of quality and health of poultry products prior to purchase or consumption (Sunde, 1992; Castaneda et al., 2005; Rajput et al., 2012).

Carotenoids are the main compounds with coloring properties (Blanch and Hernandez, 200), and they have been used as antioxidants, immune modulators, and predecessors for the synthesis of vitamin A (Surai and Speake, 1998; Jung et al., 2012). Carotenoids are particularly important to avian species, as pigmentation quality is indicative of a bird’s general health (Olson and Owens, 1998) and parental food allocation (Saino et al., 2000). Currently, synthetic and natural pigments (primarily lutein and canthaxanthin) are added to poultry feeds to increase the color of skin, meat and egg yolk in order to increase consumer acceptance of the final product (Hernandez et al. 2001).

More than 50% of the ethanol producing plants in the US extract oil from the co-products (DDGS) at the end of the ethanol production process to increase revenue from value added co-products. Currently, most of the extracted oil is used for biodiesel production, but a greater residual value may be recovered from the carotenoid pigments it contains. According to Moreau (2010), the oil obtained after the ethanol production contains all the yellow carotenoid pigments, which are chemically intact and therefore fully functional. We hypothesize that corn distillers solubles (CDS) oil, obtained as a co-product from the ethanol production, can be used as a replacement for the more expensive synthetic carotenoids or those extracted from marigold flowers that are currently used extensively in commercial poultry production. Therefore, the general objective of our project was to evaluate the ethanol bio-fuel co-product, corn distillers solubles oil extract as a source of dietary carotenoids for poultry.

NCSU USGC Report on Carotenoids

The results of this research project clearly demonstrate that corn distillers solubles (CDS) oil can be utilized as a concentrated source of xanthophil carotenoids to enhance skin color in broilers.