Traits of eggshells and shell membranes of translucent eggs

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Translucent eggshells negatively affect the appearance of eggs and decrease their economic value. Translocation and accumulation of water from the contents to the shells of eggs are frequent occurrences. Causes of translucent eggshell formation have been investigated, but the primary reason is uncertain. In previous studies, scientists have found that the thickness of the eggshell membrane was significantly different between translucent and opaque eggs. However, there are some conflicts among studies. We performed 2 experiments with 3 breeding flocks of chickens to target the reasons for egg translucence. In experiment 1, eggs of 1,024 Brown-Egg Dwarf Layers (DWL) were used. Approximately 1,600 eggs were collected over 2 consecutive days. They were stored for 3 days, and then 120 translucent and 120 opaque eggs were selected for measurement of egg quality traits and weight loss over several weeks. In experiment 2, we used DWL and White Leghorn pure line (WLL) for assessment of eggshell ultrastructure and membrane traits. We chose 120 translucent and 120 opaque eggs from 3,500 DWL eggs and 125 translucent and 125 opaque eggs from 5,028 WLL eggs. The results are as follows: (1) translucent eggs had greater eggshell strength and lower ultimate failure stress of shell membrane than opaque eggs in both DWL and WLL groups, (2) translucent eggs had thicker shells and thinner shell membranes than opaque eggs in DWL, (3) no significant differences were found in either gas pore or bubble pore traits between translucent and opaque eggs in either line, and (4) no significant differences were detected in internal egg quality or weight loss between translucent and opaque eggs in either line. In summary, the present study suggests that variations in both eggshells and shell membrane structures are implicated in the formation of translucent eggs.

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