AMARANTHUS CRUENTUS L. AS A FOOD ALTERNATIVE IN LAYING HENS TO REDUCE CHOLESTEROL IN EGGS
Amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus L.) is a food high in protein and lysine content, and has a wellbalanced amino acid composition. In addition, it has shown to be efficient in lowering egg cholesterol. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of different inclusion levels of Amaranthus cruentus L. in the diet of laying hens, on egg cholesterol content and production parameters. 200 laying hens of 30 weeks of age were fed on diets that included 0, 15, 30 and 45% (dry matter basis) of A. cruentus. For 2 months, weekly feed intake per hen, egg production per week, egg mass and feed conversion ratio were evaluated. 480 eggs were analyzed to determine cholesterol content by high performance liquid chromatography. The results were analyzed by analysis of variance for a randomized block design. The inclusion of 15% of A. cruentus seeds in the diet decreased egg yolk cholesterol content without significantly affecting the main production parameters.