Combination of UV Light and Hydrogen Peroxide Has Potential as Hatching Egg Treatment

Ultraviolet (UV) irradiation combined with 1.5 per cent hydrogen peroxide reduced the aerobic plate count on broiler breeder eggshells without adversely affecting hatchability, according to recent research from Mississippi State University.
calendar icon 13 May 2011
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J.B. Wells of Mississippi State University and colleagues there and at Texas A&M University have investigated a combination of UV light and hydrogen peroxide as a treatment to reduce bacterial contamination on hatching eggs. Their paper is published in the current issue of International Journal of Poultry Science.

Research has shown that exterior eggshell Aerobic Plate Counts (APC) are greatly decreased using a combination of UV light and hydrogen peroxide, yet it is unknown how this treatment process would impact hatchability, explain the authors. Therefore, the objective of their experiment was to determine if spraying eggs with 1.5 per cent hydrogen peroxide followed by UV irradiation for eight minutes to reduce eggshell APC would affect hatchability.

Eggs from three commercial houses (57-week-old broiler breeders) were collected over two days (n=1,944 eggs). Half were treated with 1.5 per cent hydrogen peroxide and UV and the other half served as untreated controls (18 eggs per tray).

At time of treatment, one egg was randomly selected from each of 108 trays (n=54 per treatment) for eggshell APC enumeration on Tryptic Soy Agar (TSA). Remaining eggs were stored at 18.3°C.

Prior to set, 1 egg per tray from day 1 of collection was sampled for APC enumeration. The 16 remaining eggs per tray were weighed prior to incubation and at 18 days to determine egg weight loss. At hatch (21.5 days), chick weights were obtained, meconium samples were collected from 18 chicks per incubator and samples were plated on TSA to determine the presence of intestinal microorganisms.

A three-log10CFU per egg reduction in eggshell APC was found for treated eggs when compared to control eggs.

At hatch, no differences in chick weight, egg weight loss, positive meconium samples, or hatchability were observed between treatments.

Wells and co-authors concluded that UV irradiation for eight minutes and 1.5 per cent hydrogen peroxide reduced APC on broiler breeder eggshells, without affecting hatchability.

The authors did note that the fertility in both control and treated eggs from this experiment was very low and that this extreme infertility may have hindered their ability to detect a significant effect on hatchability.


Wells J.B., C.D. Coufal, H.M. Parker, A.S. Kiess, K.M. Young and C.D. McDaniel. 2011. Hatchability of broiler breeder eggs sanitized with a combination of ultraviolet light and hydrogen peroxide. International Journal of Poultry Science, 10 (4): 320-324.

Further Reading

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May 2011
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