Chicken Polyclonal Antibody | MédiMabs

Chicken Polyclonal Antibody


Custom Chicken Polyclonal Antibodies

Immunoglobulin Y (abbreviated as IgY) is a class of immunoglobulin which is the major antibody produced in birds, reptiles, and lungfish blood. The protection against pathogens of the immuno-incompetent newly hatched chicks comes from the transmission of antibodies from the hen via the egg. IgYs are found mainly in the egg yolk, whereas the concentration in egg white is very low. Chicken IgA and IgM are also found in the egg white in very low amounts. Simple collection of eggs is necessary to harvest IgYs. A laying hen produces five to six eggs per week. An average volume egg contains 50-100 mg of IgYs, of which 2-10% are specific.


Some of the advantages of chicken polyclonal antibodies are:


  • Antibodies amount: A chicken produces, per week, a total of antibodies 2- to 10-fold more antibodies than the amount produced by a rabbit.
  • Phylogenetic differences: Chickens immune system often recognizes mammalian proteins as being foreign which results in a strong immune response. The greater the phylogenetic gap between the immunized animal and the source of the antigen better the immune response. This characteristic makes chicken antibodies very attractive to highly conserved mammalian proteins.
  • Double-staining experiments: IgY antibodies are very good to be in combination with mouse, rats and rabbit antibodies in double-staining assays. Secondary antibodies against chicken IgY’s don’t cross react with mammalian IgG’s since the IgY molecule is quite different antigenically from the mammalian IgG.
  • Less background: The lack of an Fc domain in chicken IgY’s results in no cross-reactivity of the antibody with Fc receptors expressed on cells from the surface
  • No need for animal termination: The antibodies are collected from naturally laid eggs. The hens kept in individual open cages placed outside with a small closed department for overnight and to lay eggs. Once the project is finished, the hens are retired. Some end up into a coop next to other animals where they get plenty of food and water and run free during the day and stay in the coop at night to keep them safe from wild animals. Some end up in local families who adopt retired chickens.


Removal of the contaminating lipids and lipoproteins from the IgYs resulting from egg yolks is a crucial step often considered to be the most laborious task during the production of IgYs. To overcome certain difficulties posed by lipids present at the IgY preparation, a trade secret technology is used to ensure complete delipidation.


MédiMabs standard protocol for production of polyclonal antibodies in chickens


  • MédiMabs offers both the services of
  • design of antigen (peptide, recombinant protein or protein fragment)
  • peptide or protein synthesis.

The production of the polyclonal serum includes:

  • Control eggs collection and IgY purification
  • 4 immunizations of three hens
  • Collection of plasma
  • Collection of egg yolks during 4 weeks
  • Total IgY purification
    • Control IgY
    • A minimum of 10 mg of purified IgY

For additional hens or extended egg collection, please inquire.