Camelina seeds are a rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (of which about 33% consists of omega-3) and antioxidants and, therefore, potentially able to fortify other foods. CAMFEED project aims to explore the possibility of increasing the fraction of camelina meal (remnant of pressing oil) in animal feeds using camelina lines with a reduced content of glucosinolates (GSL), compounds whose catabolism produces toxic metabolites. The project aims to feed laying hens and broilers with the meal obtained from improved camelina lines. The addition of camelina meal to the poultry diet, containing about 15% of residual oil (of which about 1/3 consisting of omega-3),  high amount of protein (35-40%) and  high content of antioxidants (vitamin E and polyphenols), will increase the content of these useful substances in poultry products (meat and eggs) and consequently for human health .

Project scheme


The first objective of the project is the multiplication of camelina lines with a reduced glucosinolate content (low-GSL) for the production of adequate amounts of meal for the chickens. The feeding  duration of the trial will be 52 weeks for laying hens and 45 days for broilers. The current limit of meal in feeds is 10% for poultry and even less for turkeys (5%) due to the presence of glucosinolates. This limit will be overcome using camelina lines selected for reduced content in GSL by the CNR-IBBA research group. The glucosinolate content will be evaluated on the seed produced in the field and on the meal (after mechanical oil extraction). In addition it will also be evaluate the antioxidant activity, the content and quality of the oil and the presence of other antinutritional factors.

HyLine Brown laying hens


The experiment on laying hens and chickens will be carried out at the “Centro Clinico-Veterinario e Zootecnico-Sperimentale” of UniMi in Lodi. HyLine Brown laying hens of 18 weeks old will be divided into three groups and fed  with 3 different diets containing 0% 10% and 20% camelina meal. After a period of adaptation (two weeks) to the camelina meal, the trial with the 3 diets will continue until the fifty-second weeks. In the case of broiler chickens ROSS 308, the chicks also divided into three groups will be fed with the same 3 diets until they reach the weight suitable for slaughter. The level of animal welfare will be evaluated according to the Welfare Quality Protocol.

During the trial on laying hens, the eggs produced will be collected and counted daily for all the treatment duration (52 weeks) in order to trace the deposition curve. During the experiment it will be evaluate on samples of about 40 eggs the weight of the eggs, yolk, albumen, shell and the mechanical properties of the shell.

On broilers, after 6 and 8 weeks from the treatment, it will be recorded the growth in weight of the animals and the feed consumption of each group. Some animals will be slaughtered to perform morphometric analysis.

On poultry products (meat and eggs) we will be evaluated the nutritional indices based on the composition of fatty acids and cholesterol. As the enrichment in unsaturated fatty acids in eggs and meat may favor premature rancidity it will be carefully evaluated also the shelf-life of eggs and meat through sensory and physical-chemical methods with samples taken at 3 and 28 days of eggs deposition and two eight days of slaughter (meat).