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UVB on legs of chickens resulted in 70 IU vitamin D per egg yoke – July 2013

UVB Exposure of Farm Animals: Study on a Food-Based Strategy to Bridge the Gap between Current Vitamin D Intakes and Dietary Targets

Alexandra Schutkowski, Julia Krämer, Holger Kluge, Frank Hirche, Andreas Krombholz, Torsten Theumer, Gabriele I. Stangl gabriele.stangl at landw.uni-halle.de

Vitamin D deficiency is a global health problem. This study aimed to investigate the efficacy of ultraviolet (UV) B radiation for improving vitamin D3 content of eggs and meat. In a two-factorial design hens that received diets with 0 (-D3) or 3,000 IU (+D3) vitamin D3/kg were non-exposed (-UVB) or exposed to UVB radiation (+UVB) for 3 h daily over 4 weeks. Data show that UVB radiation was very effective in raising the vitamin D3 content of egg yolk and meat.

Egg yolk from +UVB/−D3 hens had a higher vitamin D3 content (17.5±7.2 µg/100 g dry matter (DM)) than those from the –UVB/+D3 group (5.2±2.4 µg/100 g DM, p<0.01).
Vitamin D3 content in egg yolk of vitamin D3-supplemented hens could be further increased by UVB radiation (32.4±10.9 µg/100 g DM). The content of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25(OH)D3) in the egg yolk also increased in response to UVB, although less pronounced than vitamin D3.
Meat revealed about 4-fold higher vitamin D3 contents in response to UVB than to dietary vitamin D3 (p<0.001).
In conclusion, exposure of hens to UVB is an efficient approach to provide consumers with vitamin D3-enriched foods from animal sources.

Received: March 13, 2013; Accepted: June 10, 2013; Published: July 24, 2013

Egg shells became less stable in just 4 weeks after stopping Vitamin D in feed


Much more vitamin D generated where feathers were not in the way


PDF is attached at the bottom of this page

Highlights from the study

  • Wanted to increase vitamin D levels in chicken meat and eggs without encountering the bio-addition limits which most governments have imposed
  • Most of the vitamin D creation appears to be on the legs – which do not have feathers
    Legs have 190X more pre-vitamin D than other portions of the chicken
  • UVB illumination 3 hours total daily
  • UVB intensity was estimated to be the same amount as natural sunshine would provide
  • 2,500 IU vitamin D3/kg of feed – not body weight
  • Egg yoke with UVB + vitamin D got to 1300 IU per 100 grams
    Since a yoke appears to weigh 18 grams, this is 70 IU per yoke

See also VitaminDWiki

Items in both categories Veterinary and UV are listed here:

Attached files

ID Name Comment Uploaded Size Downloads
3649 Chicken UVB F1.jpg admin 23 Feb, 2014 57.77 Kb 1274
2852 Egg shell.jpg admin 30 Jul, 2013 19.46 Kb 1902
2851 UVB and chickens.pdf admin 30 Jul, 2013 352.08 Kb 964