During the cooling process of embryonated eggs, there is a natural air flux from the surface to the inner part of the eggs, carrying contaminants such as bacteria and fungi through the shell's pores, infecting embryos and resulting in the inability to hatch or poor chick quality. Formaldehyde, a toxic product, is still the most used disinfectant for embryonated eggs in the aviculture industry. In order to evaluate the antimicrobial activity of the green propolis ethanolic extract as an alternative to formaldehyde, 140 hatching eggs from laying hens were collected and submitted to disinfection with five different treatments: T1 - without disinfection; T2 - formaldehyde fumigated eggs; T3, T4 and T5 disinfection by immersion in propolis solution in the concentrations of 2,400 µg, 240 µg and 24 µg, respectively. The contamination levels by total mesophiles and fungi of the egg shells (Aspergillus sp. and other moulds) after disinfection with propolis were lower than when compared to the control without disinfection. In comparison with formaldehyde, the 240 µg and 24 µg propolis concentrations did not differ regarding antibacterial activity, but for antifungal activity the 2,400 µg and 240 µg concentrations were more efficient. The 2,400 µg and 240 µg propolis treatments presented a hatching rate of 94.1%, compared to only 84.6% for the formaldehyde treatment. The green propolis ethanolic extract presented antibacterial and antifungal activities in embryonated eggs showing that it can be a new natural disinfectant product substituting formaldehyde.
Propolis; embryonated eggs; formaldehyde; disinfectants