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Learn more about eggs in our "Fun & Facts" section, including how to hard boil an egg easily.

Parts of the Egg Exposed - Definitions

Although the majority of us are familiar with such terminology as egg whites, shells, and yolks, there are other egg related terminologies that we may not be as knowledgeable about. In this brief article, we will define some common and some not so common egg related words so that we have a better understanding of eggs and their biological components.

Air Cell: At the large end of the egg, it is the empty space between the white and shell.

Blood Spots: They are usually found in an egg yolk and do not mean the egg is fertilized. Instead blood spots mean that some blood vessels on the yolk’s surface suffered a rupture of a blood vessel while it was being developed. To further evaluate these imperfections, one can utilize mass candling or electronic spotters but these methods are not always accurate.

Chalazae: Cord-like strands of egg white that indicate egg’s freshness.

Germinal Disc: It looks like a slight depression on the surface of the yolk but is actually the channel leading to the center of the yolk. When an egg is fertilized this disc allows sperm to enter and travel to the center allowing the embryo to form.

Shell: It is the outer covering of an egg that accounts for more than 10% of its total weight. It is largely composed of calcium carbonate with small amounts of calcium phosphate, organic matter (including protein) and magnesium carbonate. Its color may range from white to brown and inside of an egg’s shell are two membranes (inner and outer).

Albumen: It is known as the egg white and contains more than half of the egg’s total protein, niacin, chlorine, riboflavin, magnesium, sodium, potassium and sulfur.

Thin Albumen: The thin albumen is the second layer from the shell (egg white) and spreads around the thick white of the egg.

Thick Albumen: The thick albumen is the third layer from the shell (egg white) and provides the major source of riboflavin and protein. It stands higher and spreads less than the thin albumen but is less prominent in lower grade eggs.

Yolk: The yellow portion of the egg that is based on the diet of the hen. It encompasses about 33% of the egg’s liquid weight and contains the major source of vitamins (A, D and E), minerals (phosphorus, manganese, iron, iodine, copper, and calcium, zinc) and about half of the protein. The yolk also contains all of the egg’s fat.

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