Egg yolk fatty acid profile of avian species – influence on human nutrition


SH. Golzar Adabi, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Animal Science, Ankara University, Diskapi Ankara 06110, Turkey. Tel: +90 543 325 46 42; Fax: +90 312 517 05 33; E-mail:


Lipids are an important nutritional component of the avian egg. A review of the literature was completed to determine the fatty acid compositions in egg yolk from some avian species. Additionally, the nutritional influence of lipid and lipoprotein content on the plasma of male participants during 30-day feeding was discussed. The ostrich eggs had the highest unsaturated fatty acid and the lowest cholesterol content in relation to other avian species. Ostrich had a higher proportion of 18:3n-3 (p < 0.01) compared with other species. Chicken yolk numerically contained much higher levels of 22:6n-3 than those found in turkeys, quails and geese, but the amount of 22:6n-3 in ostrich egg was lower by comparison with other species (p < 0.01). After the storage of eggs at the room temperature, there was a notable loss of vitamin E (vitE) in the yolks of all species and this decrease was marginal (p < 0.01) in ostrich compared with other species. There were significant (p < 0.05) increases in plasma low-density lipoprotein (LDL) level in all male subjects. Plasma high-density lipoprotein (HDL) level decreased (p < 0.05) only in men who were fed chicken or ostrich eggs daily. Consumption of different species’ eggs had no influence on the total male plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels. LDL-C:HDL-C ratio increased (p < 0.05) after goose and turkey egg consumption. Consumption of one egg/month by healthy human subjects had no effect on serum total cholesterol and triglyceride. The LDL-C:HDL-C ratio (which is a strong predictor of coronary heart disease risk) increased, although non-significantly, by consuming chicken, quail and ostrich eggs.