World's Poultry Science Journal

Review Article

The antioxidant properties of canthaxanthin and its potential effects in the poultry eggs and on embryonic development of the chick. Part 2.

P.F. SURAIa1 c1

a1 Feed-Food Ltd, Dongola Road, Ayr, KA7 3BN, UK - Scottish Agricultural College, Ayr, UK - Sumy National Agrarian University, Sumy, Ukraine


Among more than 750 known carotenoids, canthaxanthin (CX) has a special place as a carotenoid with proven antioxidant and other biologically-relevant functions. A great body of evidence indicates that CX possesses high antioxidant activity that was shown in various in vitro model systems as well as in animal experiments in vivo. Antioxidant defences of chicken eggs are based mainly on vitamin E and carotenoids and their concentrations in the egg yolk is dependent on their dietary provision. СX is well absorbed from the feed and effectively transferred to the egg yolk and further to the developing embryo. Increased CX concentration in embryonic tissues is associated with increased resistance to oxidative stress. Since oxidative stress is an important element of increased embryonic mortality during the last week of incubation it is highly likely that dietary CX could support chicken viability after hatch. In well designed experiments, it was proven that CX dietary supplementation of the breeder's diet significantly increased anti-oxidative status in the egg yolk and newly hatched chicks and as a result hatching rate of chicken eggs was significantly increased. Taken together, the aforementioned results clearly indicate that CX provides a great deal of benefits for chicken eggs, embryos and chickens during early postnatal development.

(Received November 23 2011)

(Accepted March 14 2012)

Key Words:

  • canthaxanthin;
  • carotenoids;
  • chicken;
  • egg;
  • antioxidant


c1 Corresponding author: