Livestock Research for Rural Development 31 (8) 2019 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Influence of ripening and dietary concentration of Morinda citrifolia fruit powder on egg performance and gut health of laying hens

Siaka Seriba Diarra, Samson Kakadi, Seini Tukuafu, Alefaio Meki, Douglas Williams, Sheenal Kumar and Ashika Devi

School of Agriculture and Food Technology, the University of the South Pacific, Alafua Campus, Samoa


The effect of stage of ripening and level on the utilisation of Morinda citrifolia fruit powder as a feed supplement by laying hens was investigated. Two levels (2.5 and 5 g/kg diet) each of the green and ripe fruit powder in wheat-soybean based diets were fed to 3 replicates of 10 Shaver Brown hens in a completely randomized design. Inclusion of green Morinda powder at 5 g/kg diet resulted in lower feed intake (FI), hen-day production, egg weight and egg mass. Feed efficiency (egg: feed) was reduced on 5 g compared to 2.5 g green powder/kg diet but did not differ among the other treatments. There were no treatments effects on any of the egg quality parameters observed. Dietary treatments had no effects on Lactobacilli and E. coli counts and the ratio Lactobacilli: E. coli. It is concluded that feeding ripe noni fruit powder up to 5 g/kg diet has no detrimental effect on egg performance and gut microbiota of laying hens but the green powder at this level depresses egg production and feed utilisation. Further research into higher concentrations of the ripe powder is recommended.

Keywords: alternative feed additives, poultry performance, product quality, gut health, Morinda citrifolia fruit powder


The increasing public health concerns of commercial additives in animal feeds (Yamashita et al 2009; Eevuri and Putturu 2013) has increased the use of alternative plant products with phytoadditive activities in poultry. The use of medicinal plant extracts in poultry feed for growth and immunity has been reported by several researchers (Narimani-Rad et al 2011; Javed et al 2009; Mishra et al 2008). Morinda (Morinda citrifolia) or noni fruit has antimicrobial, cholesterolemic, antioxidant and anti-stress properties (Sunder et al 2011).

Despite these attributes however, the use of M. citrifolia in livestock feeding is limited due to its strong smell and poor acceptability by most animals. Since chickens pick their feed mainly by seeing and feeling rather than scent or taste, M. citrifolia could be an alternative phyto additive (PA) in poultry diets. Flees et al (2017) reported no effects of feeding dried noni fruit powder at 2 g/kg diet on feed intake and growth of heat stressed broilers, but the expression of heat shock protein was improved in a time-specific manner confirming the anti-stress potential of the powder. Feeding noni fruit powder at 3 g/kg diet reduced plasma cholesterol and triglycerides below 50% (Fetina 2010). Noni fruit extract supplementation at 1.5 ml/bird/day improved weight gain, feed conversion ratio and dressing percentage in broilers (Sunder et al 2011). The phyto additive activities of noni fruit have been mainly attributed to several secondary metabolites present in it (Chan-Blanco et al 2006; Takashima et al 2007; Assi et al 2015; Ali et al 2016).

Although the stage of maturity affects the composition of plant products (Flyman and Afolayan 2007; Oszmiański et al 2018) there are currently no reports on the effect of noni fruit maturity on poultry performance. This study was conducted to ascertain the effect of green and ripe noni fruit powder on egg production, egg quality traits and ileal microflora of laying hens.

Materials and methods

Experimental site

The study was conducted at the Poultry farm of the School of Agriculture and Food Technology of the University of the South Pacific, Alafua Campus Samoa. Noni grows well wild in the study area (Photo 1). Except for few small scale companies that extract the juice, noni has currently no food use in Samoa.

Processing of noni powder and diet formulation

Green and ripe fruits harvested within the school premise were chopped into small pieces, oven-dried at 60 oC for 24 hrs. The dried fruits were then ground to pass through a 1mm sieve and labelled. A control wheat-based layer diet (crude protein 176 g/kg, as fed) was formulated (Table 1). Green and ripe noni fruit powders were added to the basal diet at 2.5 and 5 g/kg each. The steps of processing noni fruit powder are shown below.

Photo 1. Noni plant with fruits

Table 1. Ingredient composition (as fed basis) and calculated analysis of basal diet
Ingredient Quantity (g/kg)
Wheat 582.5
Tallow 20
Meat and bone meal 40
Fish meal 70
Soybean meal (40% CP) 187
Limestone 77
Dicalcium phosphate 15
Sodium chloride 3
L-lysine HCl 2
DL-methionine 1
Vitamin-mineral premix# 2.5
Calculated analysis (g/kg)
Crude protein 176
Calcium 39.5
Avail. Phosphorus 6.2
Lysine 8.98
Methionine 3.88
ME (MJ/kg) 11.8
# Premix from Bio-mix supplied/kg diet, vitamin A: 10 000 IU; vitamin D3: 2000 IU; vitamin E: 23 mg;
niacin: 27.5 mg; vitamin B1: 1.8 mg, B2:5 mg, B6: 3 mg, B12: 0.015 mg; vitamin K3: 2 mg; pantothenic
acid: 7.5 mg; biotin: 0.06 mg; folic acid: 0.75 mg; choline chloride: 300 mg; cobalt: 0.2 mg; copper: 3 mg;
iodine: 1 mg; iron: 20 mg; manganese: 40 mg; selenium: 0.2 mg; zinc: 30 mg; and antioxidant: 1.25 mg
Experimental birds and management

A total of 150 point of lay pullets (133-day old) were weighed (150 ± 112 g) and allotted to 15 pens of 10 birds per pen. Each of the 5 diets was fed ab-libitum to birds in 3 replicate pens in a completely randomized design. Clean drinking water was supplied throughout the duration of the study (70 days). A 16 hour lighting programme was maintained throughout the period of the experiment. The animal ethics committee of the University of the South Pacific approved the experimental protocol.

Data collection

Feed consumption data were collected by difference between the quantity offered and left over. Birds were weighed at the start and end of the experiment and body weight gain calculated by difference. Egg production was recorded per pen and hen-day production calculated as:

Eggs were weighed using a digital scale (Jadever JKH-500 series, Smartfox, Auckland, NZ) sensitive to 0.1 g and egg mass calculated per pen as the product of eggs collected by the mean egg weight. Feed conversion efficiency (FCE) was calculated per pen as the ratio of egg weight to feed consumed. Sample eggs (5 per pen) were used weekly for egg quality measurements. Egg length and width were taken using a digital veneer caliper. Egg shape index was derived as:

Egg surface area was calculated as: Egg surface area (cm2) = 3.9782 ×W0.7056, where W is the weight of the egg (Nasr et al 2012). The eggs were then broken on a glass table and shell thickness measured as the mean of 3 measurements (broad, narrow and mid-point) using a digital veneer caliper. Albumen height was taken at immediately at 3 places using a tripod spherometer and Haugh unit (HU) calculated according to Eisen et al (1962) as: HU = 100 log (h-1.7w0.37 + 7.6), where h is albumen height and w the weight of the egg. Yolk colour was evaluated using a Roche yolk colour fan (Hoffman-La Roche Ltd, Basel, Switzerland), graduated from 1 to 15.

At the end of the feeding trial, 1 bird was euthanised per pen (by cervical decapitation) for ileal microbial count. The ileum was removed from the Meckel’s diverticulum to the ileo-caecal joint. Ileal digesta was transferred into sterile tubes and placed on ice and sent immediately to the Microbiology Lab for determination of Escherichia coli and Lactobacillus counts. Samples were serially diluted from initial 10-1 to 10-9. About 100 µl of diluted samples were plated on the Eosin Methylene Blue (EMB) (for E. coli) and deMan, Rogosa and Sharpe (MRS) (for Lactobacillus) agar media. The media were incubated at 37º C for 24 and 48 hours under anaerobic and aerobic conditions, respectively. Colony was done according to colony morphology and reported as logarithm of colony forming unit (CFU) per gram sample.

Statistical analysis

Data collected were subjected to ANOVA (Steel and Torrie 1980) using GLM of SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences, version 22). Pen was the experimental unit for feed intake, egg production and egg quality traits while microbial count was taken on individual hens. Significant differences were reported at 5% probability.


Egg performance

Results of egg performance and quality are presented in Tables 2 and 3. Inclusion of green morinda powder at 5 g/kg diet resulted in lower FI, hen-day production, egg weight and egg mass (P<0.05). Feed efficiency (egg: feed) was reduced on 5 g compared to 2.5 g green powder/kg diet (P<0.05) but did not differ among the other treatments (P>0.05). Results of egg quality measurements showed no treatments effects on any of the egg quality parameters observed (P>0.05).

Gut microflora From the results of ileal microbial count (Table 4) there were no effects of dietary treatment on Lactobacilli and E. coli counts and the ratio Lactobacilli: E. coli (P>0.05).

Table 2. Performance of laying hens supplemented green or ripe Morinda fruit powder (g/kg)
Control Green fruit Ripe fruit SEM p
2.5 5.0 2.5 5.0
FI, kg 13.9a 14.2a 8.8b 13.7a 13.5a 1.337 0.023
Hen-day, % 73.3a 74.3a 62.3b 70.7a 69.2a 2.258 0.036
Mean egg weight, g 59.97ab 59.25abc 56.38c 60.85a 60.23ab 1.048 0.029
Egg mass, kg 3.7a 4.7a 2.1b 3.7a 3.8a 0.183 0.022
Feed efficiency 0.24ab 0.33a 0.24b 0.27ab 0.28ab 0.029 0.021
Means in the row without common superscripts differ at p<0.05

Table 3. Selected egg quality traits of laying hens supplemented green or ripe Morinda fruit powder (g/kg)
Egg quality traits Control Green fruit Ripe fruit SEM p
2.5 5.0 2.5 5.0
Shape index 78.7 77.3 78 78 79 0.882 0.708
Surface area, cm2 71.5 70.9 70.1 73.1 71.3 0.889 0.287
Shell thickness, µm+ 40 40 40 30 40 0.251 0.265
Haugh unit 86.3 86 79.5 76.6 79.1 3.233 0.176
Yolk colour 11.3 12.9 13.3 12.5 11.7 1.118 0.673

Table 4. Ileal microbial count of laying hens supplemented green or ripe Morinda fruit powder (g/kg)
Microbial count
Control Green fruit Ripe fruit SEM p
2.5 5.0 2.5 5.0
Lactobacilli 10.7 11.1 10.8 11.5 10.9 0.837 0.076
E. coli 7.9 8.0 8.1 7.9 7.8 0.108 0.071
Lactobacilli/E. coli 1.35 1.39 1.33 1.46 1.4 0.102 0.065


Egg performance and egg quality

In the present study, there was no improvement in egg performance of the noni supplemented groups over the control. Más-Toro et al (2015) also reported similar results in laying hens supplemented hens with 5 g noni powder/kg diet. These authors however, observed improvements in egg weight, when the inclusion level was increased to 10 g powder/kg diet suggesting that dietary concentration of noni products is a major factor affecting its utilisation by poultry. Flees et al (2017) also found no effect of adding 2 g noni powder/kg diet on feed intake and growth of broiler chickens. The depressed egg performance of hens supplemented with 5 g green powder/ kg diet and subsequent restoration on the ripe powder at the same concentration was not clear but possibly due to changes in composition of the fruit with maturity. The effect of maturity on the bioactive compounds of Morinda is well documented (Millonig et al 2005; Wei et al 2011; Deng et al 2012; Motshakeri 2015). Millonig et al (2005) and Motshakeri et al (2015) reported changes in phenols, antioxidants, and ascorbic acid contents in noni fruit from the green to white hard stages. It is possible that the compounds responsible for toxicity of Morinda in animal feed (Shalan et al 2016) are in higher concentration in the green fruit. Similar to our findings, Más-Toro et al (2015) also found no found no beneficial effect of 5 g Morinda powder/kg diet on egg shell thickness and yolk color but increasing the concentration to 10 g/kg improved all egg quality parameters observed.

Gut microbial count

Dietary noni fruit powder had no effect on gut microbial count in this study. Contrary to these findings, Sunder et al (2015) reported lower gut microbial load in broilers supplemented with 2.5 ml noni juice compared to the control. These differences may suggest that the response of poultry gut to noni supplementation is dependent on the type of bird and noni product.



The School of Agriculture and Food Technology of the University of the South Pacific provided the experimental birds, feed and space. Conflict of interest Authors declare no conflict of interest.


Ali M, Kenganora M and Manjula S N 2016 Health Benefits of Morinda citrifolia (Noni): AReview. Pharmacology Journal, 8(4): 321-334.

Assi R A, Darwisa Y, Abdulbaqia I M, Khana A A, Vuanghaob L and Lagharia M H 2015 Morinda citrifolia (Noni): A comprehensive review on its industrial uses, pharmacological activities, and clinical trials. Arabian Journal of Chemistry. DOI:10.1016/j.arabjc.2015.06.018

Chan-Blanco Y, Vaillant F, Perez A M, Reynes M, Brillouet J M and Brat P 2006 A review of agricultural research, nutritional and therapeutic properties. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 19: 645–654.

Deng S, West B J, Palu A K and Jensen C J 2012 Phytochemical, Antioxidant and Toxico­logical Investigation of Morinda citrifolia L. Blossoms Analytical Chemistry, 1-5.

Diba D, Mekasha Y, Urge M and Tolera A 2014 Effect of maturity stages of Fig (Ficus sur) fruits on chemical composition, in vitro digestibility and in sacco dry matter degradability. Livestock Research for Rural Development, Volume 26, Article #185. Retrieved May 27, 2019, from

Eevuri T R and Putturu R 2013 Use of certain herbal preparations in broiler feeds - A review. Veterinary World, 6:172-179.

Eisen E J, Bohren B B and McKean H E 1962 The Haugh unit as a measure of egg albumen quality. Poultry Science, 41: 1461–1468. doi:10.3382/ps.0411461

Fenita Y 2010 The influence of noni fruit flour in the ration on the percentage of internal organs, cholesterol and triglyceride levels of broiler blood. Proceeding of Semirata Field in Agricultural Sciences, Western Region, Bengkulu University, Bengkulu, Indonesia, pp: 1060-1065.

Flees J, Rajaei-Sharifabadi H, Greene E, Beer L, Hargis B M, Ellestad L, Porter T, Donoghue A, Bottje W G and Dridi S 2017 Effect of Morinda citrifolia (noni)-enriched diet on hepatic heat shock protein and lipid metabolism-related genes in heat stressed broiler chickens. Frontiers in Physiology, 8 (919). doi: 10.3389/fphys.2017.00919

Flyman M V, and Afolayan A J 2007 Proximate and mineral composition of the leaves of Momordica balsamina L.: An under-utilized wild vegetable in Botswana. International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, 58: 419–423.

Javed M, Durrani F R, Hafeez A, Khan R U and Ahmad I 2009 Effect of aqueous extract of plant mixture on carcass quality of broiler chicks. Journal of Agricultural and Biological Science, 4: 37-40.

Más-Toro D, Martínez-Aguilar Y, Rodríguez-Bertot R, Betancur-Hurtado C and Rosabal-Nava O 2015 Effect of dietary supplementation with Morinda citrifolia on productivity and egg quality of laying hens. Ciencia Y Agricultura, 12(2), 7-12.

Millonig G, Stadlmann S and Vogel W 2005 Herbal hepatoxicity: Acute hepatitis caused by a noni preparation (Morinda citrifolia). European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 17: 445–447.

Mishra K P, Chand A S, Karan D, Ganju L and Sawhney R C 2008 Effect of Seabuckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) flavone on immune system: An in-vitro approach. Phytotherapy Research, 22: 1490-1495.

Motshakeri M and Ghazali H M 2015 Nutritional, phytochemical and commercial quality of noni fruit: A multi-beneficial gift from nature. Trends in Food Science and Technology, 45: 118–129.

Narimani-Rad M, Nobakht A, Shahryar H A, Kamani J and Lotfi A 2011 Influence of dietary supplemented medicinal plants mixture (ziziphora, oregano and peppermint) on performance and carcass characterization of broiler chickens. Journal of Medicinal Plant Research, 5: 5626-5629.

Nasr M A, Murrell J, Wilkins L and Nicol C J 2012 The efect of keel fractures on egg-production parameters mobility and behaviour in individual laying hens. Animal Welfare, 21: 127–135. doi:10.7120/096272812799129376

Oszmiański J, Lachowicz S, Gorzelany J and Matłok N 2018 The effect of different maturity stages on phytochemical composition and antioxidant capacity of cranberry cultivars. European Food Research and Technology, 244(4): 705–719.

Shalan N A A M, Mustapha N M and Mohamed S 2016 Chronic toxicity evaluation of Morinda citrifolia fruit and leaf in mice. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 83: 46–53.

Steel R G D and Torrie J H 1980 Principles and procedures of statistics. A biometrical approach, 2nd ed. (McGraw Hills Book Co.: New York).

Sunder J, Singh D R, KUNDU A and Jeyakumar S 2011 Effect of feeding of Morinda citrifolia extract on blood biochemical profile of Nicobari fowl and broiler. Animal Science Reporter, 5: 141-146.

Sunder S T J, Sujatha T and Kundu A 2015 Grommune: Morinda citrifolia based herbal tonic for growth and immunity for commercial broilers. Journal of Applied Animal Research, 43: 137 140.

Takashima J, Ikeda Y, Komiyama K, Hayashi M, Kishida A and Ohsaki A 2007 New constituents from the leaves of Morinda citrifolia. Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 55: 343–345.

Wei G J, Chi T H and An S H 2011 Analysis of Volatile Compounds in Noni Fruit (Morinda citrifolia L.) Juice by Steam Distillation-Extraction and Solid Phase Microextrac­tion Coupled with GC/AED and GC/MS. Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, 19(1): 33-9.

Yamashita Y, Katagiri T, Pirarat N, Futami K, Endo M and Mata M 2009 The synthetic antioxidant, ethoxyquin, adversely affects immunity in tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). Aquaculture Nutrition, 15: 144–151.

Received 22 June 2019; Accepted 18 July 2019; Published 1 August 2019

Go to top