This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of ultraviolet light in reducing bacterial load of eggshells and the impact of experimental disinfection on hatching, embryo mortality, and time-borne distribution using broiler breeder hens of different ages (38, 42, and 48 weeks old). Fertile eggs were subjected to different exposure periods (5, 7, and 9 minutes) of UV light (UV-C) with a 254 nm wavelength. For controls, eggs disinfected with paraformaldehyde (5.3 g/m3) and eggs not disinfected (NC). After subjection to disinfection protocols, the eggs were placed into sterile plastic bags containing 20 mL of peptone saline solution (0.1% m:v) and massaged for 1 minute to release the bacterial load. Aliquots of this solution were incubated in specific medium for bacterial growth for 48 hours at 37ºC for subsequent CFU counts. To evaluate the effects of disinfection on production, eggs previously disinfected by UV-C (9 min) and paraformaldehyde and NC eggs were candled between incubation days 10 and 13 and at the end of the incubation period to assess embryonic mortality. Hatchability distribution was performed every 8 hours. The 9 minutes 254nm UV-C light exposure was able to disinfect viable eggs and matched the effectiveness of the paraformaldehyde technique.
Hatchability; paraformaldehyde; microbiological evaluation; incubation; embryo mortality