Biotech Updates

High-carotenoid Maize Does Not Compromise Vitamin A Absorption in Poultry, Study

June 28, 2017

Biofortified high-carotenoid (HC) maize is a good component of feed for poultry, according to a study conducted by scientists from the University of Lleida-Agrotecnio Center and J. W. Goethe University. The results are published in the journal Transgenic Research.

HC maize is a genetically engineered biofortified crop that accumulates provitamin A carotenoids beta-carotene, beta-crytoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin. In the study, HC maize was tested as feed component in a chicken feeding trial to evaluate the bioavailability of provitamin A carotenoids in the kernel matrix compared to the synthetic and natural color additives currently used in the poultry industry.

Results showed that provitamin A carotenoids were not used up in similar ways. Beta-carotene was converted into retinol in the intestine, while beta-cryptoxanthin accumulated in the liver. They also found that chickens fed with low concentration of zeaxanthin accumulated more retinol in the liver, implying that zeaxanthin might have an effect on the absorption of beta-carotene. Based on the findings, the researchers concluded that HC maize can be used as component of poultry feeds.

Read the research article in Transgenic Research.