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Food safety and the egg shell – the case is cracked.

McGill University students have studied the egg shell, with findings that may lead to further improvements in food safety. Cracked egg shells increase the risk of Salmonella contamination. The researchers study questioned how the egg shell resists cracking from the outside, and yet can be cracked open by a hatching chick? By studying the egg shells nanostructure and mechanical properties they found that the shells are made of inorganic and organic matter, containing calcium and proteins. The calcium is utilised by the chick as it grows, and the inner shell dissolves to supply this. The result is a weakening of the shell as the chick develops, allowing the shell to be broken by the hatching chick. They were able to create a nanostructure from what they learnt, and hope to use the protein and calcification changes they discovered to improve food safety in the future.

 

 

Nanostructure, osteopontin, and mechanical properties of calcitic avian eggshell
By Dimitra Athanasiadou, Wenge Jiang, Dina Goldbaum, Aroba Saleem, Kaustuv Basu, Michael S. Pacella, Corinna F. Böhm, Richard R. Chromik, Maxwell T. Hincke, Alejandro B. Rodríguez-Navarro, Hojatollah Vali, Stephan E. Wolf, Jeffrey J. Gray, Khanh Huy Bui, Marc D. McKee
Science Advances 30 Mar 2018 : eaar3219