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Effects of olive and fish oil Ca soaps in ewe diets on milk fat and muscle and subcutaneous tissue fatty-acid profiles of suckling lambs

  • B. Gallardo (a1), P. Gómez-Cortés (a2), A. R. Mantecón (a3), M. Juárez (a2), T. Manso (a1) and M. A. de la Fuente (a2)...

Abstract

Enhancing healthy fatty acids (FAs) in ewe milk fat and suckling lamb tissues is an important objective in terms of improving the nutritional value of these foods for the consumer. The present study examined the effects of feeding-protected lipid supplements rich in unsaturated FAs on the lipid composition of ewe milk, and subsequently in the muscle and subcutaneous adipose tissues of lambs suckling such milk. Thirty-six pregnant Churra ewes with their new-born lambs were assigned to one of three experimental diets (forage/concentrate ratio 50 : 50), each supplemented with either 3% Ca soap FAs of palm (Control), olive (OLI) or fish (FO) oil. The lambs were nourished exclusively by suckling for the whole experimental period. When the lambs reached 11 kg BW, they were slaughtered and samples were taken from the Longissimus dorsi and subcutaneous fat depots. Although milk production was not affected by lipid supplementation, the FO diet decreased fat content (P<0.001), whereas the OLI milk FA profile resembled that of the Control diet. In contrast, although FO drastically diminished the contents of stearic and oleic acids (P<0.001), all the saturated even-numbered carbon FAs from 6:0 to 14:0 increased (P<0.05). FO also produced the highest levels of c9,t11-18:2 (2.21%) and n-3 FAs, 20:5 n-3 (0.58%), 22:5 n-3 (0.48%) and 22:6 n-3 (0.40%). The high levels of trans-11 18:1 (7.10%) obtained from the FO diet would suggest that Ca soaps only confer partial protection in the rumen. In contrast, the lack of significant differences in trans-10 18:1 levels (P>0.05) and other trans-FAs between Control and FO treatments would indicate that FO treatment does not alter rumen biohydrogenation pathways under the assayed conditions. Changes in dam milk FA composition induced differences in the FA profiles of meat and fat depots of lambs, preferentially incorporated polyunsaturated FAs into the muscle rather than storing them in the adipose tissue. In the intramuscular fat of the FO treatment, all the n-3 FAs reached their highest concentrations: 0.97 (18:3 n-3), 2.72 (20:5 n-3), 2.21 (22:5 n-3) and 1.53% (22:6 n-3). In addition, not only did FO intramuscular fat have the most cis-9, trans-11 18:2 (1.66%) and trans-11 18:1 (3.75%), but also the lowest n-6/n-3 ratio (1.80) and saturated FA content were not affected. Therefore, FO exhibited the best FA profile from a nutritional point of view.

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Corresponding author

E-mail: mafl@if.csic.es

References

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