Effect of age of Japanese quail on physical and biochemical characteristics of eggs
The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of age of birds on egg quality in Japanese quail. The eggs were randomly selected from among all eggs laid on the same day when the birds were 15, 23 and 31 weeks old. At each time point, 90 fresh eggs were evaluated for their physical and biochemical characteristics. Egg weights were similar over time. At 23 and 31 weeks, the eggs had less shell than at 15 weeks. Crude fat and ash contents of the eggs increased with the age of the birds. Crude protein was also highest in eggs of the oldest quail. At 31 weeks old, the eggs were lowest in pH of yolk and white. Quail that were 23 and 31 weeks old laid eggs with significantly higher polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) and lower saturated fatty acid (SFA) contents. The lowest cholesterol content was in egg yolks from 23-week-old quail. The oldest birds had the highest contents of sodium, potassium, zinc, selenium, copper, and manganese. The content and activity of lysozyme decreased with ageing of the birds. From the consumers’ point of view, eggs from older birds appeared to be the most valuable. At the same time, as the quail ages, the antibacterial properties of eggs deteriorate, which may indicate a shorter shelf life.