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Supplemental Information

Figure 1. Effects of alfalfa saponin extract (ASE) on performance of egg weight, egg production, feed intake, and feed efficiency

Values are expressed as mean±SD (n = 5). Values with different small letters differ significantly (P < 0.05), while those with different capital letters differ very significantly (P < 0.01).

DOI: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.1461v1/supp-1

Figure 2. Effects of alfalfa saponin extract (ASE) on the performance of egg shape index, shell strength, shell thickness, Haugh unit, and yolk colour

Values are expressed as mean±SD (n = 80). Values with different small letters differ significantly (P < 0.05), while those with different capital letters differ very significantly (P < 0.01).

DOI: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.1461v1/supp-2

Figure 3. Effects of alfalfa saponin extract (ASE) on the concentration of yolk cholesterol, liver cholesterol, liver BA, and fecal BA

Values are expressed as mean±SD (n = 80 for yolk cholesterol; n = 5 for others). Values with different small letters differ significantly (P < 0.05), while those with different capital letters differ very significantly (P < 0.01).

DOI: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.1461v1/supp-3

Figure 4. Effects of alfalfa saponin extract (ASE) on the serum biochemical indices in laying hens

Values are expressed as mean±SD (n = 5). Values with different small letters differ significantly (P < 0.05), while those with different capital letters differ very significantly (P < 0.01). TC – total cholesterol; TG – total triglycerides; HDL-C – high density lipoproteins cholesterol; LDL-C – low density lipoproteins cholesterol; and VLDL-C – very low density lipoproteins cholesterol.

DOI: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.1461v1/supp-4

Figure 5. Effects of alfalfa saponin extract (ASE) on mRNA expression of cholesterol metabolism genes in liver and ovary of laying hens

(A), (C), and (D) were from liver while (B) was from ovary. n = 5. Different letters indicate significant difference (P < 0.05) using one-way ANOVA; HMGCR – HMG-CoA reductase.

DOI: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.1461v1/supp-5

Additional Information

Competing Interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Author Contributions

Senhao Zhang performed the experiments, analyzed the data, wrote the paper, prepared figures and/or tables, reviewed drafts of the paper.

Yinghua Shi conceived and designed the experiments, contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools, wrote the paper, reviewed drafts of the paper.

Minggen Liang performed the experiments, analyzed the data, contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools, wrote the paper, prepared figures and/or tables, reviewed drafts of the paper.

Jia Li performed the experiments, analyzed the data, contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools, reviewed drafts of the paper.

Chengzhang Wang conceived and designed the experiments, contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools, wrote the paper, reviewed drafts of the paper.

Animal Ethics

The following information was supplied relating to ethical approvals (i.e., approving body and any reference numbers):

Animal experiments and procedures were approved by the Institutional Animal Ethics Committee of Henan Agricultural University (Permit Number: 11-0085). All efforts were made to minimize the suffering of the animals.

Data Deposition

The following information was supplied regarding data availability:

The research in this article did not generate any raw data.

Funding

The financial support for this research by the Earmarked Fund for Modern Agro-industry Technology Research System (CARS-35) to CW. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


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