The Important of Beta Carotene on Poultry Nutrition

Süleyman Çalışlar


Beta carotene (BC), the primary source of vitamin A in poultry rations, is one of the most important carotenoids. Under the influence of enzymes, β-carotene is converted to vitamin A. The BC molecule is a double retinal structure and theoretically gives 2 molecules retinal. Its biological activity is only half of retinal. Conversion of carotenoids to retinol is rarely 100%. Thus the vitamins of various foods are expressed in terms of the potential retinol equivalence (RE).

BC is absorbed from the duodenum and if there is oil in the intestinal tract, it is absorbed faster. Oxidatively converting BC into vitamin A is mainly carried out in the intestinal brush border membrane, organs such as the liver, kidney and lungs. BC egg yolk is transported to and stored in immune organs and similar tissues. The BC content of the egg of the poultry varies. BC contents of hen eggs are low, while BC contents of eggs of wild birds are between 25-30%. Despite depletion of BC in the liver it's transfer to the egg continues.

Since poultry can not synthesize β-carotene, it must be taken from outside. Products such as yellow corn, marigold and alfalfa are very rich sources of β-carotene. BC is abundant in egg yolks, milk, butter and liver.

BC is effective in the pigmentation of skin and egg yolks of hens. Due to BC's antioxidant properties prevents deterioration of egg and meat.  It has also been shown that BC has important effects on the immunity and endocrine system. BC, strengthens see function, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, prevents inflammation and some types of cancer. Studies have shown that BC enhances the immune system by raising antibody response in poultries and prevents acute respiratory tract infections.

In this review article, the introduction of BC, its functions, effects on poultry nutrition were investigated.


β-carotene, carotenoid, poultry, pigmentation, antioxidant, immunity

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