Physicochemical and morphometric characterization of eggs from emus (Dromaius novaehollandiae)
There is a dearth of scientific information about the physicochemical characteristics of eggs from ratite birds including emus. Thus, an experiment was carried out with 19 laying emu ((Dromaius novaehollandiae) hens, maintained in cages, and divided into two groups according to age, to record morphometric and physicochemical characteristics of the eggs. The width, length, average weight, form index, Haugh unit, yolk index, percentage of egg components, yolk pigmentation, pH of yolk and albumen, and eggshell weight and thickness were recorded. This morphometric characterization was influenced by the age of the hen. Neither the yolk nor albumen pH was influenced by the age of the bird. The eggs from emus that were raised in captivity presented physical and morphometric characteristics that varied with age, although they remained within the ranges of observations that were previously observed for ratite species, but were different from those of domestic chickens. The high fragility and easy rupture of the vitelline membrane in the emu eggs may limit the use of this product in industrial applications. Further studies of emu eggs are needed to improve their suitability for consumption and for the food industry.