Canadian Poultry Magazine

PIC Update: Potential For Eggshell Waste

By PIC   

Features Nutrition and Feed Research Poultry Production Poultry Research Production Research

The chicken egg is an important and nutritious food, and egg production for human consumption is an important element of the Ontario agricultural industry. About 30 per cent of eggs that are produced are processed in breaker operations and are not consumed as shell eggs. The increasing number of table eggs that are diverted to breaker operations producing egg white and yolk is a positive development that improves efficiency and quality control for production of commercial material from the table egg. Eggshell waste (about 1.2 million kilograms of waste annually) is a byproduct of this breaker industry, for which disposal is becoming increasingly costly, and for which a value-added commercial application remains elusive. Discovery of a value-added commercial use for this eggshell waste would benefit the industry financially and promote the egg-producing industry as environmentally friendly.

Dr. Max Hincke and his research team at the University of Ottawa have been studying the use of eggshell waste as a source of antimicrobial protein for use in human health care. Part of the eggshell comprises endogenous proteins that, until now, have been identified only in egg white. Lysozyme is abundant in the shell membrane that circumscribes the egg white and forms the innermost layer of the shell membranes. It is also present in the shell membranes, and in the matrix and cuticle of the shell. Ovotransferrin is localized in the calcified mammillae and in the eggshell membrane where it acts as a bacteriostatic filter.
The research team has been working with an eggshell-specific protein called Ovocalyxin-36 (OCX-36) that is homologous to mammalian antibacterial protein families. The specific association of OCX-36 with the eggshell membranes allows its selective extraction from an industrial waste material, and the researchers are able to extract OCX-36 from eggshell membrane (determined in a previous project). Their goal here is to purify the protein and test its antimicrobial activity against a battery of gram-negative and gram-positive bacterial strains. 

Their findings? The researchers were able to purify OCX-36 from eggshell material and are working to adapt these methods to extract the product from industrial eggshell waste.  It was found that eggs from different suppliers and production lines contain about the same amount of OCX-36. Cultures of Bacillus subtilis and E. coli were found to be more sensitive than S. aureus and P. aeruginosa to the OCX-36 preparations. The researchers are interested in the stability of the OCX-36 in gastric juice and will be studying this with support from NSERC. They will also be looking at an OCX-36 gene that could be used in selection by breeders. PIC seed support was essential in order to generate the data that attracted NSERC funding for this project. The ultimate objective of this research will lead to practical uses for a waste material from the egg industry with potential medical and health-care spinoffs, which will open new markets with significant commercial potential for the poultry industry. To read more, please visit the website,


Featured Researcher


Dr. Derek M. Anderson is an active researcher in the area of monogastric nutrition. A significant focus of his research has been on poultry nutrition since his arrival at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College (NSAC) in 1982. In particular, many projects undertaken have been related to effective use of available feedstuffs for broiler chickens and heavy hen turkeys. Recently, work has been done to evaluate the best methods to use these feedstuffs in poultry feeds by ingredient combination as well as modification of feedstuffs through processing techniques. Derek serves as the Chair and Chief Executive Officer for the Atlantic Poultry Research Institute (APRI). Outreach to the regional poultry sector is maintained through the APRI.

Within the Plant & Animal Sciences Department at the NSAC, Derek teaches courses in protein nutrition and vitamin nutrition and teaches modular courses related to nutrition at the graduate program level. At the undergraduate level, courses are taught in animal nutrion, swine production and fish nutrition. In addition, six to eight undergraduate projects are supervised annually in areas of the nutrition of poultry, swine, or fish.

Evaluation of Yellow-seeded Canola Products for Poultry
Derek Anderson, Nova Scotia Agricultural College

Dr. Derek Anderson and his team at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College found that feeding full-fat canola seeds to broilers may meet increased consumer demand for choice and provide a leaner meat.

For years, soybean has been the primary source of plant protein in poultry diets, which are becoming more and more plant-based. Least-cost formulated diets are required for the poultry producer to remain competitive in the poultry industry, and using canola seed may be one way to achieve this. However, commercial canola has a lower metabolizable energy (ME) due to its high fibre content.

The development of yellow-seeded forms of canola may lead to improvements in the feeding value of canola for poultry.  These varieties of canola have lower fibre contents and higher true ME values than meals derived from brown-seeded canola.  Therefore, this promising plant needs further evaluation for use in poultry diets. 

Dr. Derek Anderson and his research team at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College have been investigating apparent ME in various canola products, the effects of various canola products on growth performance and carcass composition of broiler chickens, and the effects of yellow seeded canola on growth performance and carcass composition of heavy hen turkeys.

Their findings? Carcasses from broilers fed black full-fat seeds and yellow full-fat seeds had significantly lower levels of crude fat and higher levels of crude protein than birds fed a control diet. Contrary to results from the broiler trial, dietary treatment did not affect the crude fat and crude protein contents of the turkey carcasses at 70 days of age, indicating that there may be a species difference for how the canola seeds affect lipogenesis (fat breakdown). 

For the broiler industry, feeding certain full-fat canola seeds may help to meet the increased consumer demand for choice in poultry meat based on what the birds are fed, and provide a leaner meat.  To read more, please visit the website,

PIC ‘s Picks
By Tim Nelson, Executive Director

The summer was busy for the PIC. During the summer months the PIC has have been organizing the Growing Forward Cost Share workshops for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). Those of you who have attended one of these workshops will undoubtedly agree that the workshop is a pretty painless way to learn how to obtain some useful funds from the government to enhance your biosecurity. More than 120 producers have taken advantage of this and there are more workshops coming in the new year – don’t miss this educational opportunity.

We recently completed a very comprehensive brochure/magazine called Research Outcomes – 2010 Updates. It features all of the research that the industry has invested in since 2003 and is up to date. You’ll also find a copy of this magazine on our website, where you can find the full reports for any of the featured work at the “click” of a button.

The magazine is laid out to allow you to read the work in the subject areas you’re interested in. We’d like your feedback on this publication – and if you haven’t got one by the time you read this, please contact the PIC – it’s essential reading!

We also had the golf tournament, which, despite the atrocious weather was enjoyed by all. Thanks to all of you who braved the day and made it a success – you helped us raise a tad over $14,000 for our research efforts. We promise better weather next year. This year, once again, we also raised about $4,000 for research through Mulligan Sales at all of the industry tournaments, so, again, thanks to those of you who gave so generously.

Don’t forget the Poultry Innovations Conference (Nov. 11 and 12 – see advertisements in last month’s Canadian Poultry for details) and keep a lookout for news of Producer Updates in your area in early 2011. Book early for everything – it saves you money!

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