Analysis of Heavy Metal Content in Chicken Eggs

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Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology | Life Sciences


Kate Graham, Biochemistry


Fish are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids but can be contaminated with heavy metals. As a potential alternative to fish consumption a common practice in industrial egg production is to enrich grain based chicken feed with fish and fish oil which results in the production of omega-3 enriched eggs. We set out to determine if there is transfer of heavy metals from livestock feed containing menhaden oil to omega-3 enriched eggs. Results from Atomic Absorption spectroscopy show that there is little difference in heavy metal content between the conventional eggs and the omega-3 enriched eggs, yet the feed enriched with menhaden oil had much higher concentrations. This suggests that chickens do not pass heavy metals from the feed to eggs.