Effects of fermented Camilla sinensis, Fuzhuan tea, on egg cholesterol and production performance in laying hens

Fuzhuan tea, which is a Chinese dark tea produced by fermentation with the non-pathogenic fungus Eurotium cristatum, has reportedly demonstrated lipid lowering effects in rat models. These published studies suggest that fuzhuan tea may be a suitable feed additive for laying hens to reduce egg cholesterol levels. Therefore, a 5 week feeding study was conducted to determine the effects of tea- supplementation on egg cholesterol and production performance in laying hens. A total of 136 laying hens were randomized into three diet groups and fed ad libitum a basal diet (control), or diets supplemented with milled fuzhuan tea or its water-soluble extracts(treatment groups). Tea supplemented hens demonstrated significant improvement in laying performance with increased egg production of 36% (milled tea) and 24% (tea extracts) compared to control animals. Both treatments also resulted in a decrease in egg yolk cholesterol. No significant differences between groups were observed with respect to egg weight, yolk ratio or other serum lipid parameters. In conclusion, supplementation of chicken feed with fuzhuan tea may be a safe and effective means of improving feed efficiency and production in layer hen operations while resulting in eggs with a lower cholesterol content. 

Keywords: layer hen, Fuzhuan tea, Camellia sinensis, HPLC, total cholesterol, egg production, feed efficiency